|What Mad Universe - A Cosmic Chapter With Gaia
20 May 2010
01. From Alpha Ursae Minoris (Part. 1)
02. And The Sun's Still Silent
03. Eris In The Sky
04. Mu Area D
05. Cosmic Chapter
06. Across The Monolith
07. Autumnal Forest On Mars
09. To Sigma Octantis (Part. 2)
Admittedly, experimental post-rock has never really struck me as anything special. It seemed like the same old pretentious crap used to deter your equally pretentious friends from getting all up in your grill about your collection of Katy Perry memorabilia. Well, I suppose this is one less sub-genre of music I get to rag on, because What Mad Universe have managed to create something that is equal parts heavy & delicately intricate.
For those of you who haven't wiki'd it yet, What Mad Universe is originally the name of some sort of science-fiction novel from 1949 dealing with those brain-hurting subjects like parallel universes, and possibly the cosmos, from what I can assume. Appropriate name for a band like this; it's definitely got that lost-in-cavernous-deep-thought feel to it. You know how some bands use various instruments to add a certain dynamic to their guitar-based music? Well, What Mad Universe seem to do the exact opposite; use guitars to beef up the music rather than act as a center-piece. In fact, no instrument is really a center-piece at all. Yes, the guitars are essentially the only constant throughout, but A Cosmic Chapter With Gaia is definitely more focused around building a coherent ambiance rather than highlighting certain aspects...Even if that banjo & organ combo has to be possibly the most interesting aspect of this album.
Yes, it's always nice to see a band use their imagination to create something that steps away from depending entirely on guitars, but that's where the only real problem lies. What Mad Universe pieced together a very deep, structured little album here, but for some reason the guitars feel like a bit of an afterthought at times. I understand how they are really meant to take a back seat in the grand scheme of this album, but there should have been a little more creativity put into them. Speaking in a broad sense though, such complaints really seem quite trivial, as A Cosmic Chapter With Gaia is really a fun album in it's own way.
Written on 18.06.2011 by
Former EIC, now semi-retired.