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EP Review: Bad Math ‘Celestial’

Bad Math

I have an affinity to anonymous projects—they paint the music in a mysterious new light. Rather than taking the music at face value, I question who’s really behind the computer desk putting the beats together and assembling the creation. Bad Math, an instrumental hip-hop producer from Sydney, chooses to remain anonymous for the duration of this new project and, by doing so, adds an element of sorcery and magic to his music.

‘Celestial’ is the artist’s debut beat tape. A wild set of five tracks that bend, weave and congress through alternating sounds, samples and musical timeframes. An air of unrest lies within the mixtape, its beats never place a sense of complacency in the listener—remaining on edge throughout, as if the time signature and structure of the track will collapse and warp into something all together at any moment.

Heavy on the glitch, Bad Math also learns a thing or two from Kaytranda’s early days and brings that dusty jazz distress to ‘Celestial’. Hyper-experimental, the EP is pure musical madness, in the best way possible. It never seems to rest on its laurels, playing toward a more maximalist approach to structure and composition. Whether or not Bad Math intended to make these beats with someone rapping over the top of them, the five tracks are still impressive and shine a light on the gapping experimentation instrumental hip-hop is currently going through.

Opening track, the title track, is a slow, methodical introduction into the mayhem. You learn of Bad Math’s musical impurities and how he breaks them into a thousand pieces—something he’ll be doing more often than not through the entire EP. It’s a technical feast that bleeds nicely into Friend Of A Time Traveler which, as the name suggests, has a galactic feel to it. Glitchy bleeps and bloops sprawl its breezy 2-minutes-45-seconds timeframe. It creates a barrier of uneven beats that’s impressive in delivery.

Hypnocil is a standout. As if Death Grips, Gotye and The Avalanches made a track in the same room together, it’s a sample-heavy narrative of Bad Math’s approach to stacking his musical collage. It’s almost hypnotic how deep this track gets—beginning to comprehend its many layers is too much a feat.

Bad Math has achieved complete greatness in his instrumental hip-hop. ‘Celestial’ is a forward thinking approach to beat making.  The producer veers left when others are turning right. This EP is a beautiful step in the right, experimental direction.

Written by Jake Wilton