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Editors’ Notes

Whether you call it math rock, nerd rock, post-rock or any of the newer genre names that have been conceived in recent years, Battles’ ancestral roots speak loudest: Krautrock and experimental rock, both birthed decades ago, fuel this ferocious foursome. Comprised of members of bands such as Helmet and Don Caballero, lesser-known avant-garde musician and composer Tyondai Braxton is at the center of Battles’ sound, and is undoubtedly responsible for a good deal of the offbeat and playful risk-taking on Mirrored (check out his work with Parts & Labor if you’re feeling really edgy).   Here we have instrumentation with purpose and power-tool precision, compositions with hard angles and sharp edges, and structured, architectural rhythms. Nothing — not an instrument or a loop or a percussive note — exists superfluously, everything has a purpose and a place.  Versions of some of these tracks can be found on earlier EPs (such as the hugely impressive “Atlas,” with its assembly line guitar parts, munchkin-like vocals and machine buzz working together to create a memorable melody, for lack of a better word), but this cohesive, first full-length release is a great place to start. Guitars and synths co-conspire, creating industrial/dance rhythms and evocative soundscapes, dotted with artful digital flourishes, shadows of avant-jazz, and enchanting anomalies such as jingling bells, cartoonish, manipulated vocals and whistled refrains. No offense to rockers everywhere, but this is really an astonishing work for a bunch of rock dudes.  Just expect the unexpected.

Customer Reviews

Modern Music Has Nowhere Left to Go?

Let's face it, this album is one of the most original albums released in the past few years. Mirrored takes the mold of what music can sound like and vaporizes it. If you have ever found yourself sitting around thinking that nothing new can be acomplished with modern music, Mirrored will turn you into a believer again.

Strange and Beautiful

Pitchfork characterized this album well when they dubbed it "cyborg rock." While Battles past releases are comparatively straight-forward math rock masterpieces, this is something different alltogether. It just sounds like a new combination of vocals, electronics, and instruments masterfully blended together by an intensly skilled set of musicians. This album is worth buying, if nothing else, because it is the most successful, enjoyable, and entertaining musical experiments of the past few years.

Mathrock from the Future

This album is one of the best releases of the year. You need to purchase this and listen to it from start to finish a few times, then take a break and let it sink in. Listen to it one more time and by then, it will have surely hit you. It is something of wonder.


Formed: 2002 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Battles is a quartet comprised of drummer John Stanier of Helmet and Tomahawk, guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams of Don Caballero and Storm & Stress, guitarist David Konopka of Lynx, and avant solo musician Tyondai Braxton. All members bring their honed-in angular math skills of past glory to Battles. The Tras and EP C EPs were both released in June 2004 on Cold Sweat and Monitor respectively. The B EP followed on Dim Mak in September 2004. The Atlas EP followed in early 2007, followed in turn...
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Mirrored, Battles
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Customer Ratings