CONTROL - Schulte, A [cassette] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Schulte, A [cassette] (2012)

Sound of Science Records

This three-piece from Madison, Wis., delivers a mostly instrumental quartet of tracks and in doing so bring to mind elements of a number of bands that have also taken a slightly less than straightforward musical route with their output. These bands would include the likes of the Minutemen/fIREHOSE, plus Gang of Four, along with hints of Fugazi, Beefeater and Branch Manager from the Dischord label and I even managed to hear a bit of Crass in there as well, although none of these examples match exactly what CONTROL is doing.

I say "mostly instrumental" because there are some vocals occasionally featured, but they are more atmospheric and employed as a background to the music rather than an upfront element to deliver a particular message. The music itself has an almost hypnotic quality from start to finish, with bass lines moving all over the place on a wild journey of discovery, visiting tangents at will whilst the drums resolutely keep track wherever they need to go to keep in line with that far from stationary bass. Alongside this you have the clean, deliberate guitar parts that add an angular component to the music, picking away with a purpose that is almost opposite to the approach of the rhythm section and driving the tracks forward, adding a nice counterpoint in a more structured way.

Whereas some bands performing what is often termed as "math rock" tend to go overboard with the levels of intricacy, CONTROL manages to make the four tracks sound ridiculously simple yet full of content at the same time, thus allowing it to be extremely listenable both in the foreground or as background music whilst performing other tasks, i.e. sat at my desk working.

Apparently this is the second in a series of three releases by the band which will be packaged up onto vinyl later in the year. Currently, the three parts are being released as limited edition cassettes and also as downloads. I look forward to getting hold of the whole series when available, especially if parts one and three are as good as this one. One thing to note is that the marvelous artwork is provided by Alyssa Schulte, which provides the answer to anyone questioning the title of this release.