Mender – Fractional

What do you do in your free time when you’re the drummer of an insanely cool math rock band? You concatenate folk with ambient and glitch, of course. It does work when you’re Mender, offering a “pay what you want” release every 6 months or so (terms and conditions apply).

This time around, Fractional is the name of the package containing four songs for you and they are purely ambient stuff with some beats added, with the element of glitch replacing the odd time signature that is, well, the defining sound of math rock. ‘Chi Killer’ is the breezy welcoming cocktail, lasting 5 minutes and playfully glitching from time to time, a very relaxing intro.

Juxtaposition is the adjective that Mender clings on in Fractional. ‘Calm watery grave’ mixes the aforementioned ambient sensibilities with some industrial like sounds, sort of what Child of Karras did on the soundtrack for the video game Thief. They called it “steampunk music” back then and maybe that’s a reasonable adjective to tag this track (and release it to the wild). ‘Sorry, I burnt the eggs’ sports a classy title and mixes a sweet slide guitar with beats, bleeps and bloops. There’s a bit of singing here, like a ghost lamenting on the distance.

‘Fractional’ closes the EP and it feels like a counterpart of ‘Chi Killer’: slightly gloomier and a bit more straightforward, with enough sweeping atmospheres swelling the receding atmosphere. A solemn ending for a short but sweet EP.

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