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Mute Math Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Mute Math lyrics)
Mute Math Biography
Get ready to meet a band whose understated elegance runs against convention in its challenge to make rock music new again. Mute Math featuring Paul Meany (vocals, bass, Rhodes), Darren King (drums, samples, programming), and Greg Hill (guitars)-embraces a songwriting style that combines with familiar innovation to provide a new take on a classic sound. Few artists could venture so deep into electronic influences and yet retain the organic rock feel that makes their music unique. Mute Math makes its commercial debut with Reset, a 7-track EP that sets the tone for a fresh look at rock music.
The keyboard and guitar-driven "Control" leads Reset with a mix of emotions that peak in its explosive double-chorus. Hauntingly addictive, "Control" utilizes various dynamics that interchange between delicate melodies and raw execution. The song, which is essentially a cry for freedom from control issues and over-thinking, delivers diversity without losing focus.
"This is my 4 minute sprint to get as far away as I can from everything that compels me to maintain control," says Meany. "My very nature wants me to play life as though it's a chess match against circumstances. Always thinking 20 moves ahead can be exhausting. This song was written nothing short of an urgent prayer to find rest."
Equally urgent and even more so unpredictable, "Plan B" rocks over a drum track that sounds like the foundation of a techno song. Interestingly, the band lets the rhythm stand apart from the keys, and with the addition of lo-fi guitar samples, the song creates the feel of an authentic dance-rock hybrid. "Peculiar People" offers yet another twist with a catchy chorus, a driving drum-and-keyboard loop, and a reggae vibe reminiscent of Reggatta de Blanc-era The Police. The song, which also features a hip-hop element, lyrically emulates its sound with a message about standing out.
Overall, the album embraces the art of sampling, but since most of the source material comes from their own organic performances, the songs emit the warmth that's lacking in most electronic-influenced music. Spotlighting intermittently manipulated drum takes, the title track "Reset" has an amped-up finale that delivers a refreshingly tangible feel. In a similar way, songs like "OK" and "Progress" emphasize atmosphere and ambience, yet the flavored moods complement the earthy songwriting without overpowering it.
Besides their execution of the songs, Mute Math finds personality by using vintage instruments and amps from the 60's & 70's complimented by early 80's analog synthesizers. The more seasoned the instrument, the better. They also like the idea of an instrument having a history. In their quest for uniqueness, the trio even tapped into the underground trend of "circuit bending."
"If you take apart little electronic toys like children's keyboards, you can rewire the circuitry in them to make unique sounds," explains King.
"I've been building these tiny little gizmos that make great theremin-like sounds," he continues, referencing an electronic instrument that's played by moving one's hands near its two antennas.
Turning back the calendars, Meany first took center stage as a vocalist and founding member of Earthsuit. The band, which King would later join, earned considerable acclaim, though it wasn't enough to keep the group together past their first release. Disappointed, Meany took a break from the music business.
"One of the traps I was falling into when Earthsuit was breaking up was that I felt I had to figure everything out," explained Meany, "initially, for the people who looked up to me, but eventually more so for myself. It was my first confrontation with my mortality. I was finding it hard to enjoy anything about being in a band or making music at that point."
Meany headed home to New Orleans and started writing songs purely for the creative release, a move that eventually turned everything around. Recapturing the joy of music's true freedom, Meany experienced a "reset" of his perspective that led him to test out the new ideas with King and Hill.
"As I was writing songs for Mute Math, I was beginning to change perspectives. I began to write these songs not out of trying to figure out more but trusting more and letting go. I was allowing myself to finally realize that everything in life doesn't have to have a finite formula or explanation," he says, "What we experience in life and how it affects us goes beyond mathematical boundaries. . . the sooner we can accept our uncertainties, the more certain and hopeful our future seems to become."
Recalls King, "We wanted our style and sound to have signature elements, but we weren't afraid to set aside any boundaries that we'd previously set for ourselves. We wanted songs that intrigued and connected with people from the first listen while making them think about things differently."
Mute Math's first demo found its way into the hands of established producer Tedd T. (dc talk, Delirious?, Stacie Orrico), who was launching his new record label, Teleprompt. In little time, Mute Math became Teleprompt's flagship band. Says Meany, "I'm highly optimistic about teaming up with Tedd and his label. For us, the key was finding someone who really got the music and would help us make the record that we were hearing in our heads. We'll see where things go, but no matter what I'm just happy that upfront we got the music done right."
Produced by Mute Math and Tedd T., Reset reveals rock music that's ahead of the curve yet difficult to resist. With plans for a full-length album next spring, Mute Math has only begun to show what rock music can fully become.
Meany concludes, "I've realized there truly is a spiritual realm that's paralleling all that stuff we go through, and there's something great that can come even from our mistakes and failures. If you look at it that way, it's hard to be cynical."