As any consciously relevant social-interest story will inform you post-haste, we are living in an increasingly Networked Age. As a society we are connected in more ways than ever before, technologically linked with one another through an ever-growing web of invisible electronic pathways, which as they evolve begin to approach the kind of cognition we used to associate with the idea of ESP or ‘psychic’ behavior. We’re able to tell where each other went on vacation or what each other had for lunch without ever having to utter a word to one another, or even be in the same room, let alone time zone.
While on the macro level humankind grapples with how best to utilize this newfound capacity for awareness, on the micro level small groups of individuals have spent years finding more functional applications for it.
Battles are the Networked Band, or perhaps the-band-as-network. An island chain linked by a unique combination of artistry, experimentation, technology and singular focus. A three-headed cyborg that forces our aptitude for pure physical industry to flirt lasciviously with our encroaching digital reality. A band that holds computerized loops in their brains, leaves sweat on their machines and whose sonic heartbeat is almost brutally human. It only makes sense that such bastards of both the hi/low-tech worlds would look for an alternative means of communication.
La Di Da Di is the prompt, the exclamation and the riddle to hang in the air while we try to make sense of just what Battles have done now. Dave Konopka, Ian Williams and John Stanier have turned the tables on themselves this time, confronted their own ideas of what Battles is – and here on their third album, have willed an answer to that question into existence. The tangled wires and entrails of Mirrored and Gloss Drop have been pulled out, flung against the wall and scraped into an unruly pile to be tread upon.
As the name might imply, La Di Da Di is a mushrooming monolith of repetition. Here is an organic techno thrum of nearly infinite loops that refuse to remain consistent. The rhythmic genus of Battles is here as ever; full frontal, heightened and unforgiving – the gauntlet through which melody and harmony must pass, assailed at every turn. ‘The Yabba’ squawks to life, tumbling down the stairs before it finds it’s own dislocated gait. The title of “Dot Net” hints at its propulsive bait-and-glitch, while “FF Bada” and “Summer Simmer” twitchily reach dizzy heights of forward-gazing no wave bluster.
For a ‘breather’ “Cacio e Pepe” isn’t much of a breather, all unsettling harmonic shafts of light, like a short walk on an especially strange beach. The album’s middle section that it bookends with it’s spiritual cousin “Tyne Wear” are surely some of the more mutated deployments of conventional rock instrumentation you’ll have heard in some time. It’s about at this point that you begin to realize the truly bionic reimagining of what a band can sound like. That seems like hyperbole until you lurch into the eerie skank of “Megatouch”, and by the time you realize that genre’s been swept out the window you’re thrown unapologetically through the percussive “Flora>Fauna” and into the seeming zero-gravity of “Luu Le” which reveals itself to be a shapeshifting carnival ride, eventually depositing you gently at the exit gate – wondering how it is you’ll explain what La Di Da Di means.
Ex Theater - Tokyo, Japan
Akaso - Osaka, Japan
Venue TBA - Seoul, South Korea
Rockhouse - Guangzhou, China
The Wall - Taipei, Taiwan
Mao Livehouse - Shanghai, China
Yugong Yishan - Beijing, China
Stradbally Hall - Co. Laois, Ireland