Kuan Turn Math Rock On
Kuan is a Buddhist term that means wordless contemplation, and that is exactly what the Ohio quartet do. Their first release, On/Standby, is a double EP consisting of material recorded over a three-year period. They manage to communicate so much across an exclusively instrumental album that lyrics would just be overkill.
The release consists of two albums, On and Standby, though the latter is more a bonus disc of material recorded while the band was still a three-piece unit back in 2007. The contrast between the old material on Standby and the new material heard in On is stark and illuminates just how far the band has come in the three years between recordings. The new material is dripping in reverb and smacks with sporadic loops.
There are no standout tracks across either albums, each song building upon themes present in the last and smashing any preconceptions the listener may have had about instrumental music. Here is a band who couldn’t have a dull moment if they tried. They throw the math-rock scene on its head with spastic, bass-driven rhythms and conventional drum patterns.
Kuan’s music is a culmination of jazz, post-rock, and math-rock influences creating complex and often bizarre soundscapes solely with guitars and drums. In a world gone mad on synthetic beats and thick electronic riffs, Kuan are a fresh look at what is possible without over saturation.