Album: Snack(S) by miRthkon

It’s been a great couple months for new heavy rotation music for me. On the heels of new Schizofrantik and Secret Chiefs 3 albums comes the latest full-length miRthkon release, Snack(S) (2013). Like their earlier Vehicle, Snack(S) has taken up near-permanent residence in my car’s CD player lately, quickly becoming one of my favorite all-time albums.

The miRthkon website coins the phrase “chambercore,” and it’s an apt label for the band: this is pretty much hardcore chamber music. Even when they’re playing a conventional rock groove, there’s classical precision to the complex arrangement and execution. The standard rock band foundation — guitar, bass, and drums — is adept at executing a wide array of guitar-based styles (funk, prog-rock, djent, and more). Layered over that core is a woodwind section that punches things up with intensely complicated melodies and textures. The resulting mash-up is one of a kind: part jam band, part comedy troupe, part experimental European classical ensemble. It’s magically weird and consistently surprising.

I’m finding the album absurdly addictive, from the spastic opening riffs of “Qxp-13 Space Modulator” to the heavy bluesy exit of “Fairies Wear Boots.” It’s probably even more Zappaesque than Vehicle, with a number of experimental classical-ish pieces, but the standout tunes for me tend to mix the avant-garde with the accessible. The angry political funk of “Hapax Legomena” is an outstanding example miRthkon’s unique brand of organized chaos. I’m also insanely fond of “Snacks(S) – The Song!,” a brilliant, rhythmically complex track that sounds like an unlikely collaboration between Meshuggah and Frank Zappa. If those two tunes don’t hook you, the rest of the album will probably be too weird; if they do, though, move on to “Eat a Bag of DiX,” “The Cascades,” and…well, there’s really not a bad track here. I freaking love this album; seriously, the existence of miRthkon fills me with a cackling glee many would find off-putting. Be adventurous, check them out!

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