The Analog Kid (grx) wrote in progfans,
The Analog Kid

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The Ultimate In Math Rock

So, I originally posted this in my journal so this is a cut n paste. I thought prog fans might be interested in this though

Anyone who has ever played music with me, and played along to songs I've personally written, knows that rhythmically I don't like to be too conventional. Every once in awhile I like to go total math rock. I like to do things like write a simple 4/4 song, but have a bridge in it that's subtle but not 4/4. So people feel the familiar groove at first, but then wonder why their brains are tweaking all of a sudden. Listen to the Civita song Unsure for an example. It goes from 4/4 to a 6/4 bridge. Only the bridge has quick little 2/4 hitches that switch the beat from the kick drum to the snare and back. Plus it's got distorted little bits that jump back into 4/4 for a second before going back to the 6/4 count. All of that was intentional. I tried to do all of that but to do it really steady and smooth. So you don't really notice the changes, but you just kind of feel them. Like I said, math rock. In our song A Clown And A Boy, I go from 4/4 to 3/4 to 4/4. But there is purposely no standard verse, chorus, verse structure. The idea was to have a linear song that goes step by step from point A to B to C to D. It's not good to always be predictable. Even though it can drive my drummer and bass player mad sometimes. In fact, on unsure I recorded the guitar and bass both because it took a while for our bass player to rap his head around it. Even though it sounds super easy if you're not trying to learn it.

I must admit though, Tool has me beat. Especially on their song Lateralus. They actually based the whole song on various aspects of the Fibonacci sequence. If you're not familiar and haven't read/seen The Davinci Code, I'll explain. The Fibonacci sequence is when you get the next number in the sequence by adding the previous two digits. Like this.

0+1=1, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8, 8+5=13 etc etc... or, to be easier to read

So Tool based their crazy time signatures for Lateralus on that. The main riff switches from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8. This is the 16th step of the Fibonacci sequence. And they didn't stop there. The cadence of the vocals follows the sequence starting at one and goes up and back. Plus the lyrics are all about the sequence and expanding the mind, even though they never mention it point blank. Maynard's a genius! The lyrics speak of spiraling out into places unknown. Another way to illustrate the Fibonacci sequence is with an ever expanding spiral based on the increasing area of a triangle based on the sequence. Like this:

Most of that stuff about the Fibonacci sequence I just happen to know because I'm a big math nerd. In fact, when ever it's 11:23 on a clock in our house, Mel(instantkarmma) and I try to be the first to yell out "It's One One Two Three!!!!" Yeah, we're freaks. But here's a video showing all the stuff in Lateralus dealing with the Fibonacci sequence. It's way cooler when you can see it all happening!

Lateralus Explained
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