|Bubblemath — Edit Peptide (May 26th, 2017)|
Bubblemath — Edit Peptide (May 26th, 2017) • “This second album by Minneapolis progressive rock quintet Bubblemath is a very, very impressive accomplishment. The eight lengthy tracks are each packed with enough compositional ingenuity to satisfy anyone with an appetite for extreme musical complexity. If you’re not normally a fan of intensely progressive music, you’re likely to respond to this album with some bewilderment. That’s okay. Discovering everything that is brilliant about these songs can be a bit of a project, but if you hunker down and explore it, that will be a highly rewarding endeavor. Music & Lyrics: *****” (Zawmer, Amazon)
• Proves a Worthwhile Wait with its Frankenstein’s Monster~Formula of Lively Textures, Wacky and Virtuosic Musicianship, Hypnotically Robust Vocals, and Charmingly Astute Attitudes.
Genre: Technical Metal / eclectic prog / avant~pop / art~math
Album release: May 26th, 2017
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
1. Routine Maintenance 12:42
2. Avoid That Eye Candy 3:53
3. Perpetual Notion 6:57
4. A Void That I Can Depart To 10:08
5. Get a Lawn 6:21
6. Making Light of Traffic 8:58
7. Destiny Repeats Itself 7:24
8. The Sensual Con 7:36
• ℗ Cuneiform Records © Bubblemath
• Kai Esbensen — Keyboards, vocals
• James Flagg — Drums, percussion, vocals
• Jon Smith — Vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, flute, clarinet, chimes, gong, glockenspiel, xylophone, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, banjo
• Blake Albinson — Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, nylon string guitar, keyboards, tenor sax, vocals
• Jay Burrit — Electric bass, fretless synth bass, fretless electric bass, upright electric bass, vocals
• Recorded at Seedy Underbelly, Terrarium, Bubblemath Labs, and Augsburg College.
• Recording engineer: Blake Albinson
• Assistant engineer: Jonathan G. Smith
• Drum engineer: Alex Oana
• Bass and drum treatments by Dan Rathbun at Polymorph.
• Mixed by Jonathan G. Smith and Blake Albinson.
• Mix engineer and mix consultant: Adam Tucker at Signaturetone
• Mastering by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering.
• Vocal direction: Jonathan G. Smith
• Artwork: Rob Gaer
• Graphics guidance: Jonathan G. Smith and Jay Burritt
• Additional graphics assistance by Pete West and Bill Ellsworth.
• Edit Peptide ambigram design by Kai Esbensen.
• Produced by Bubblemath.
BY JEDD BEAUDOIN, 23 May 2017
• Bubblemath releases its first album in 15 years, Edit Peptide Friday, 26 May via Cuneiform Records. A little history seems in order: The Minnesota unit’s debut LP, Such Fine Particles of the Universe (2002), was remarkable for its wide~ranging aesthetic, blending elements of pop and prog, then bending back into territories of the experimental and mathematical. The record garnered the band major respect among critics and listeners whose imaginations were matched only by their musical appetites. The prolonged silence that followed came down to a series of personal and professional setbacks that did little to quell Bubblemath’s artistic impulses.
• Though it may seem odd to refer to such refined music as childlike, a fearlessness overtakes the compositions and playing across this record. It most often mimics a child’s need for magic and wonder. The opening 12~minute epic “Routines Maintenance” walks the tightrope between classic rock and rock music from the far reaches of the future. Lyrics fire into the air with an effortlessness one is tempted to call stream of consciousness, music passages flow as rich and fluidly as a dream and the piece itself demonstrates that Bubblemath has emerged from whatever hardships it experienced fully intact and determined to mine its singular musical path.
• Epic tracks are a hallmark of progressive music, and in this regard, Bubblemath doesn’t disappoint. The ten~minute “A Void That I Can Depart To” further demonstrates a talent for continuous revelation, allowing unique harmonies, imaginative soundscapes and stylistic collisions that in any other hands would sound clumsy, under~realized but instead accentuate Bubblemath’s particular genius.
• More remarkable than this attention to detail and meticulous sense of imagination is Bubblemath’s reluctance to sound like anyone else in the pantheon of prog. Yes, one might detect traces of Genesis here and (perhaps unintentional) bit of Mike Keneally there, but the remarkable originality at work in this music ultimately prevails. Even a relatively commercial turn such as “Avoid That Eye Candy” reveals a proclivity for the previously unexamined and the refreshingly strange.
• Whether Edit Peptide is followed by another 15~year silence or ushers in a more prolific and creatively fertile era from Bubblemath doesn’t matter. Listeners have enough here to keep them peeling away layers for some time to come. We should all join in that task. Dig in if you can search for clues as to how one band could cover this wide a range of sounds and, of equal importance, sustain it for a full album, each unexpected twist offering us something new. What we have, then, is that rarest of musical artifacts, a sophomore release that lives up to its predecessor and may very well supplant it as an enticing and memorable statement. • http://www.popmatters.com/
• Radical yet refined composer and songwriter Frank Zappa once remarked, “Progress is not possible without deviation,” and if he were alive to hear them, he’d almost certainly agree that Minnesota fivesome Bubblemath exudes his philosophy (and daring spirit) with every unconventional rhythmic change, off~the~wall timbre, and multilayered melody. Like 2002’s debut LP, Such Fine Particles of the Universe, the band’s long-awaited second sum, Edit Peptide, equates to a masterful medley of artful aural arithmetic. Blending the in~your~face intricacy of Between the Buried and Me and The Mars Volta with the eccentric experimentation of Mr. Bungle, the dense and poppy harmonies of Umphrey’s McGee and Echolyn, the symphonic vibrancy and tongue~in~cheek foundation of Beardfish, and the forceful fluidity of Bent Knee, The Dear Hunter, and Emanuel and the Fear, Bubblemath ensures that the sequence builds upon itself with enough intriguing discipline to make Fibonacci proud (you know, if he listened to this kind of thing).
• The current Bubblemath line~up (vocalist/keyboardist Kai Esbensen, vocalist/drummer James Flagg, vocalist/guitarist Jon Smith, guitarist/keyboardist Blake Albinson, and bassist Jay Burrit) came together in 1998. Naturally, they recognize that having so many years between albums could be — as Esbensen jokes — “[an] advantage or a detriment. Maybe both!” He reflects that the group originally thought it’d be “a breeze” to follow~up Such Fine Particles of the Universe, an album that won them 86,000 MySpace followers and Minnesota Music Academy’s “2002 Best Eclectic Recording” award. However, a series of setbacks, ranging from “broken equipment, to broken promises, to loss of funding, to loss of partners and pets and parents, to incompatible mix engineers, to extended sabbaticals, to extended medical emergencies,” made it difficult to accomplish that ambition. Add in the fact that “for several years, [they] were only able to commit about three hours a week to working on the album,” as well as various issues regarding engineers and recording quality, and it’s easy to see why Edit Peptide gestated for so long. In reaction to the skepticism of devotees, Esbensen jovially declares, “We absolutely weren’t crying wolf! We wouldn't wish this kind of delay experience on our worst band~enemies. Not that we have band~enemies. But if we did, we would not wish it on them!” Ultimately, the lengthy hiatus did prove positive, though, as it allowed “all five of [them] to become better musicians” who are capable of yielding a more striving, unpredictable, and colorful collection. They couldn’t be prouder of it.
• Fifteen years in the making, Minnesota eclectic prog / avant~pop / art~math quintet Bubblemath’s sophmore sequence, Edit Peptide, provides a worthwhile wait with its non~formulaic formula of lively textures, wacky and virtuosic musicianship, hypnotically robust vocals and charmingly astute attitude. Blending in~your~face intricacy with eccentric experimentation, dense and poppy harmonies, symphonic vibrancy and tongue~in~cheek foundation, Bubblemath are clever and musicially intricate, but despite their loyal adherence to high information~density compositional constructs, they make serious and seriously quirky music that doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows the fun to shine through.
• The current Bubblemath line~up came together in 1998 and released their 1st, 2002’s Such Fine Particles Of The Universe. Then came mostly silence. Naturally, they recognize that having so many years between albums could be — as Kai Esbensen jokes — “[an] advantage or a detriment. Maybe both!” He reflects that the group originally thought it’d be “a breeze” to follow~up Such Fine Particles of the Universe, an album that won them 86,000 MySpace followers and Minnesota Music Academy’s “2002 Best Eclectic Recording” award. However, a series of setbacks, ranging from “broken equipment, to broken promises, to loss of funding, to loss of partners and pets and parents, to incompatible mix engineers, to extended sabbaticals, to extended medical emergencies” made it difficult to accomplish that ambition.” Add in other factors, and it’s easy to see why Edit Peptide gestated for so long. Ultimately, the lengthy hiatus did prove positive, though, as it allowed “all five of [them] to become better musicians” who are capable of yielding a more striving, unpredictable, and colorful collection. They couldn’t be prouder of it!
• It’s not often that a band releases a new album after such a long hiatus, let alone something that exceeds expectations beyond fans’ wildest dreams. Somehow, though, Bubblemath has done just that with Edit Peptide. By conducting so many divergent styles, refining their songwriting and compositional skills, and most of all, sticking to their guns when it comes to crafting highly challenging and adventurous, but also quite hypnotic and welcoming, tunes, the quintet proves just how perfectly a band can fuse the familiar and the fresh.
Here’s what the critics are saying about Edit Peptide:
• “Edit Peptide is the definitive math rock album, an avant manifestation of prog rock that comes straight from the future … this is ‘progressive rock’ in its fullest sense.” — Lorenzo Barbagli, Altprogcore
• “… a fearlessness overtakes the compositions and playing across this record … unique harmonies, imaginative soundscapes and stylistic collisions that in any other hands would sound clumsy … but instead accentuate Bubblemath’s particular genius.” — Jedd Beaudoin, PopMatters
• “… complex, tight, and completely off the wall … if you want something so far out of both normal mainstream, and the progressive mainstream, then this is going to be worth discovering.” — Kev Rowland, Progarchives
• “… this set of intellectual compositions might burn a fuse or two in your brain … prog done right, and giving back the literal epithet of the genre.” — Dæv Tremblay, Can This Even Be Called Music?
|Bubblemath — Edit Peptide (May 26th, 2017)|