Mandelbrot Set - All Our Actions Are Constantly Repeated
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Mandelbrot Set
All Our Actions Are Constantly Repeated

Quick. Looking at the name of this band, choose what genre they belong to.

If you guessed "post rock," you would be correct (although I'm betting that math rock was also a major temptation). Named after a repeating, fractal image, the group creates long tracks (their debut album features six songs that clock in at over forty-five minutes) that combine sprawling droning atmosphere with face-mashing, full on rock. They have things in common with Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and many, many others, and yet they manage to pull off some moments that stick out amongst the crowded field.

The group starts off on the right foot with "And The Rockets Red Glare / Bombs Burst In Air" as tribal-sounding drums build in power alongside some repetitive bass work while dry guitar notes ring out. The track reaches full-on rock-out about halfway through before taking things down to shimmering ambience for awhile. Oh yeah, and then they come back for an ending that lays waste to anything that came before it, with squalls of white-hot guitar that sound like they're shredding amp speakers.

That's the general construction that tracks take on, with some variations of course. "Constellation Of Rings" is the big exception, a loose piece that clocks in at over thirteen minutes and features everything from trippy electronic effects that call to mind the spaced-out work of Yume Bitsu to plucky banjo melodies and acoustic guitar that nicely offset the one blistering guitar passage. In terms of sheer release, there's nothing on the album that tops the nearly ten-minute "Benoit B. Mandelbrot," a track that takes about three minutes to get going before simply laying waste for a majority of the rest of the track while pausing to take only short breathers. Sure, it's been done before, but this trio still seems to wrench something out of it all that sounds fresh.

One thing that is both a positive and sort of a liability of the group is that this debut feels much more loose than a lot of other bands doing similar things. It's not as mechanical and cold as a lot of post rock artists, but at the same time it does get pretty darn noodly and unfocused in places. That said, it's a debut, and the group gets a positive nod for some really interesting artwork (a fold-out poster includes both oil production and consumption charts for each country, along with a transparent guide to measure the disparities) and some punishing sonics that sound like they've being created by twice as many people. A solid debut.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2007-02-08 20:53:14