I’ve never been one of those people who can see around the corner to the next trend. I have someone who does that for me, and I provide sandwiches and comic relief. The arrangement works fine for both of us. When it comes to the Bandwagon, I’m usually the one dawdling behind, examining the flowers on the side of the road, long after the bandwagon has disappeared over a hill. Maybe that’s why I write historicals.
Recently I stumbled onto a musical movement called Math Rock. Naturally, it was cutting edge 25 years ago. At that time, I was just discovering the music that had been over at that point for another 25 years. But the Internet is forever, hooray! And I have found a new and interesting treat for my ears.
The basis of math rock is unusual, sometimes asymmetrical time signatures–7/8, 11/8 or 13/8 instead of the usual 4/4 beat we’re all so familiar with. There’s also a liking for start-stop rhythms and the use of instruments to provide texture, rather than melody. It’s pretty awesome. Takes me back to high school, when the band leader introduced us to Dave Bruebeck’s Unsquare Dance in 7/4 time. I had a brief love affair then with time signature experimentation. Never really went anywhere, as music eventually took second fiddle to foreign languages, but it was still fun to play with.