Battles-Related MP3s

Want to hear more from Tyondai Braxton, one quarter of Battles, the electronified math-rock outfit newly signed to Warp Records? There are two MP3s up at his website,, both from the History That Has No Effect album, a “solo loop” set released on the JMZ label in 2002. (JMZ has also released work by Zeena Parkins, Nels Cline and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore.) “Great Mass” (MP3) is a heaving symphonic guitar drone, and it would bring to mind Glenn Branca’s guitar symphonies even if Braxton’s brief bio/resume on the website didn’t reference Branca’s “Hallucination City: Symphony 13 for 100 Guitars.” The six-minute-plus “Mass” is one of three movements from a piece titled “A Sentence Worth a Thousand Words.” And lest that formlessness suggest that Braxton’s role in Battles is more a matter of texture than of rhythm, not only does “Mass” shift into a charge of circuitous baubles as it closes, the second free download, the nearly nine-minute “The Violent Light Through Falling Shards” (MP3), opens with a clatter of muffled beats beneath some chiming strings and builds from there, through stretches of plectrum thunder that suggest the Byrds at their most deranged, before reaching a climax of overt sirens. Yeah, something’s comin’, alright.

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