On a fresh new compilation of Philadelphia-area math and progressive rock, you can get an introduction to 22 bands who’ve contributed a song to the production. Twenty percent of the proceeds will go to Black Lives Matter Philly and the rest will help support the artists, who’ve taken a troubling hit to their show and touring opportunities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Get a first listen to the compilation — and purchase a copy — below!
There’s no filler – every song hits hard, and each group makes their mark, whether they’re performing in more upbeat territory, playing a more contemplative and jazzy tune, or in any other musical niche. One thing that does unite many of the songs is the passion – whether it’s during the repeated atmospheric bursts of the krautrock-leaning “Sky Subtraction” by Luminance or amidst the jazzy, psychedelia-inflected riffs of “Pas De Chaises” by Countdown From Ten, listeners can count on finding a wellspring of captivating passion. The passion keeps the music consistently remarkably intriguing — there’s a rich sincerity on all levels of the release.
The sheer variety of sounds on the compilation makes the listening experience even more intriguing. There’s no monotony here; a splash of contemplatively intricate and familiarly math rock-style riffing might appear alongside forays into a range from jazz to emo to post-rock.
Tracks including the last two on the record deliver the post-rock vibe via their swirling pool of extended melodies. “Mental Math” by Goings is one of the tracks with an emo slant – emotionally earnest vocals appear alongside bursts of instrumentation that deliver the same sense of self-contemplation. The nine-and-a-half minute contribution from Out of the Beardspace, whose song is called “Dirge,” teems with glittery groove, which helps light the way for the jazzy segments on “Upward Mobility” by Trap Rabbit, among other spots.
All the songs, it’s worth noting, are genuinely rather upbeat-feeling, including heavier moments like “Llanerch Eclipse” by Call Me Clever. Listening to the compilation, as a whole, feels invigorating and richly engaging.
“Putting together this compilation was truly a delight,” the compilation’s curator, Graham Noel, shares. “I’ve booked and seen many of these bands live, so I was well aware that Philadelphia is a hub for boundary-pushing experimental music. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much incredible music is floating around in the scene that I wasn’t previously familiar with. It devastates me that we can’t gather to enjoy this music in a live setting anytime soon. I sincerely hope the money generated from the compilation helps in some small way to keep the wonderful humans in these bands afloat and creatively engaged during this difficult time.”