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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mute Math - Musical Algebra

To say that Mute Math possesses a different sound than the usual suspects found out on the Billboard top 100 charts is a gross understatement. They're eclectically and electrically charged with bits of alt rock, progressive and a heavy dollop of jazz fusion. I'm reminded of some of the rock icons past such as The Police or Radiohead, and a fave, The Alan Parsons Project. The band rolls with a cohesive, intricate sound that will light up your cerebral cortex - they absolutely jam.

Tunes such as "Chaos" or "Stare at the Sun" come across as borderline chaotic - the dummer, Darren King often seems at odds with the flow of the music coming from Paul Meany and his keyboard, yet it fits. I am fascinated with King, he's a dynamic creative percussionist with an obvious love for beating his kit into complete submission. Bass player, Roy Mitchell-Cardenas brings the stand up into the sound and on this song, "Stare at the Sun" alternates between the bass and assisting in percussion in a way that exemplify the true musically intelligent from the want to be poser. Crazy innovative fusion of jazz slash alternative rock.
"Stare at the Sun" Mute Math

Inspired, I wandered the Google highway and discovered they had been in a court battle with their label, Warner Brothers. Evil label, seems Warner Brothers had violated an agreement Mute Math had set with the label. The band did not want association with Word Records branding, a Christian imprint of Warner. Regardless of what agreement the band thought they had with Warner the "Word" logo, was still attached to their album release. This lawsuit wound its way for a few months, but did not stop Mute Math from touring. Incredibly they recorded and released during this chaos, another record which they marketed at concert merchandise tables. Their self-created disc was successful enough that it showed Warner the err of its way and the case resolved in the band's favor.

That action took a high amount of conviction in themselves to buck the system and toss caution to the wind against a label such as Warner. Especially in today's music scene when so many bands struggle to gain a label this group was essentially willing to throw it away on principal. I think that likely the reason for their success and the testament to their true originality. They really are all about the music. It's almost fairy tale ending amazing that this band's strength of conviction triumphed against some formidable potential repercussions.

I fell into adoration of the lead singer, Paul Meany almost immediately. Not because he's gorgeous, and he is, but rather because he's crazy enough to play a keytar. Seriously when has that instrument ever thought of being cool? Never. Meany not only makes it look geeky-freaky cool, he rocks that damn thing like he's Slash in Guns N Roses. The ensemble has an amazing and fierce energy that is addicting to listen to - the four guys responsible for the beauty that is Mute Math: Paul Meany (keyboards, vocals,) Greg Hill (guitars,) Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (bass) and Darren King (drum abuser).
"Typical" Mute Math

"Paper Darren"

For those who like a more traditional sound, Meany and company do "What I Say". Music kicks at about the minute mark, Meany's vocals activate 2:44.


  1. jerseyirish4:23 PM

    unny, When I first started to listen to the first video I was like eh, but continued to listen, they were actually pretty good never heard them before. The sound is different, but not hard to listen to, thanks for posting.


  2. OMG, JI, I was going to say the same thing. I thought it sounded too weird at first, but when the vocalist started to sing, I liked it. Their sound reminds me of somebody, but I can't put my finger on who. Some band I'm sure snowstorm never heard of (in other words, an old band).

    I can see myself in college, sitting on a bed on the floor in a darkened room, passing a...uh...CIGARETTE...around with my friends while we listen to this.

    Hey! That would be fun. Let's do it.

    *passing 'cigarette' to Sunny*

  3. *taking the smoke* *inhaling*.......

    Caryl, JI initially what caught my attention with this band, that drummer. Insane rhythms - such an unusual syncopation incorporated into their whole sound. He's killer to watch; I'll have to find some more youtubes with live performances.

    Meany's use of a keytar, how crazy is that? They're a cool, ethical, focused group of guys with commitment to their art. So much to love with that process.

  4. jerseyirish1:38 PM

    Sunny, Showed the video's to my two, daughter thinks she has heard them before. My son said someone turned him onto them a couple of weeks ago for the same reason the drummer. My son has been playing drums for about 3 years and is always looking for better techniques. He said "wow Mom how did you find them?" I said not me I just clicked and listened!!!


  5. Cool, JI.

    O.T. So, Mr. Hicks, from what I read this morning is suppose to show up on Idol this year and is working another video - 7 Mile Breakdown? Read something posted up on the Boogie site.