Welcome to Heavy Blog is Heavy’s feature, “The Anatomy Of.” Taken from the Between The Buried And Me album of the same name, in which the band pays tribute to artists/bands that they feel have most inspired their songwriting, “The Anatomy Of” allows us to hand off the metaphorical microphone to bands so they can talk about their influences. Read more entries from this series here.
SEIMS is not a household name, which is a fuck-up on behalf of the entire world. Their new album, 3, comes out at the end of this week, and man, is it a doozy. A truly bizarre math rock collective from Sydney, Australia, headed up by Simeon Bartholomew, the group takes an already eccentric genre and folds in elements of glitch electronics, post-rock, jazz, and progressive rock for a combination that defies the bounds of predictability and logic. What makes them so special is exactly this sort of genre salad, something most artists would struggle to even pull off, let alone turn into quality music.
The ability of SEIMS to turn heads and write phenomenal melodies even as they merge tonally disparate worlds of music into a cohesive unity is something that should be attributed not only to the eye for detail possessed by ringmaster Bartholomew, but his deep love for all the genres thrown into this enormous melting pot. Seriously, 3 is filled with an incredible amount of sounds, and the way they all come together is beyond impressive. What this means, then, is while we would throw around bands all day and bounce numerous comparisons off SEIMS, but what makes infinitely more sense than that is to just let Bartholomew talk about his own influences. And where better to do this than in an Anatomy Of article? Read on below to find the records that most inform the sound of SEIMS!
Tyondai Braxton – Central Market
The reason SEIMS started was because of witnessing (and consequentially being blown away by) Battles live in the flesh on their Mirrored tour in 2007. It made me quit my other projects, and focus solely on a project that pushed my own abilities, boundaries, and more importantly, pushed the audience. However, when Braxton left Battles to pursue his solo venture, he clearly made the right decision – because holy fuck, THIS is an album. Central Market has always been my “electronic Fantasia”; harmoniously blending synths, noise, sound manipulation, and an orchestral ensemble into a beautifully crafted, symphonic, concept album. Bridging the worlds of organic and artificial has always been an important trait in my work.
PVT – O Soundtrack My Heart
An Aussie instrumental staple, PVT (previously Pivot) debuted with their incredible instrumental album Make Me Love You (check out the track “Montecore”), and followed it up with the phenomenally flawless O Soundtrack My Heart. Besides their immaculate soundscapes, the 70s sci-fi tone of their synths has always been something that’s stuck with me (I think growing up with classics like Tron, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blade Runner, may have subtly biased me, too…) and have created their own world within this album. Highly recommended.
Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
A true classic and an absolution of perfection not jazz, but music, as a whole. The arrangement is stunning. The performance is beautifully imperfect. The dynamic is incredibly moving. And the musicianship is extraordinary. If you know this album already (I hope you do), please investigate the legacy edition, featuring all the alternate takes. There’s so much to discover with every listen – another sign of a perfect album that is full of charm.
And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures
I’d always been a fan of the math-rock genre (and this band), but this specific album taught me a valuable lesson in making ‘happy’ music. The positivity radiates from their music, yet you can still get down and heavy and have a boogie at the same time. And it’s genuinely challenging to make instrumental music that radiates positivity. With the first two SEIMS albums, that’s something I’d explored on and off, but with 3, it was important that I took the concept of the album even further, and even within its moments of darkness (especially in the album’s closer, Imperfect Black), I wanted to make sure that there was always still a glimmer of hope coming through. I also love a well-constructed concept album, and their use of themed phrases littered throughout is the perfect tie-through (see all of the above!)
Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights
I oft find the best creations are birthed from limitations (hence why I always keep a small pedal board / write my music using an unfamiliar instrument) – and this duo is a perfect example of expansion through limitation. Their musical identity is instantly recognizable, and they’re extremely versatile in their songwriting. Their energy is relentless (both on record and off), and have been consistently thorough with every release they’ve put out. Earthly Delights is just one of those albums that does not disappoint at any part of the process.
Other notables worth mentioning: My Disco – Little Joy; Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For the Deaf; …Trail of the Dead – Source Tags and Codes; Giraffes? Giraffes! – More Skin With Milk Mouth; Alarmist – Popular Domain; and Holy Fuck – Latin.