To those not familiar with the term, ‘math rock’ may sound more nerdy than hipster, more number-crunching than axe-grinding. But, over in Japan, since the mid-90s when seminal outfits like Ruins and Boredoms emerged from the ether, this branch of progressive rock – experimental and largely instrumental, with its unusual time signatures, complex rhythms and avant-garde harmonies – has been one of Japan’s coolest, distinctive rock exports.
Since its heyday, Japanese experimental musicians have embraced the genre whole-heartedly, adding their own distinctively
quirky edges. And it’s being carried on today on by the likes of World’s End Girlfriend and Sour – who have both graced Hong Kong in the past year – and the graceful Tokyo foursome, Lite, who swing by this fortnight.
Formed in 2003, Lite is comprised of a group of brilliant technicians – Nobuyuki Takeda (guitar), Kozo Kusumoto (guitar), Jun Izawa (bass) and Akinori Yamamoto (drums) – infusing heavy metal, jazz and electronic music, and harmonising them into one complex, beautiful, (and very danceable) jam session. They’re impressively tight (a hallmark of math-rock outfits, of course) and virtuosically intimidating, without ever sounding overly self-indulgent.
Originally getting their big break through self-made demos and hearsay, Lite has now reached a reputable status in Japan and beyond. They have performed at Fuji Rock and have toured throughout Europe with great reception. Having just released their latest album, Past, Present, Future (which features two tracks with a featured vocalist!), Lite is on the road again to delight rock geeks and math nerds alike.
Lite plays Hidden Agenda on Fri Jul 6; Tickets: 2591 0499, www.whitenoiserecords.org