Imperial China – Methods: EP

Everyone welcome our newest contributor, Julia Conny!  Her first piece is a review on a disc much-beloved in the ancient halls of Aural States’ labyrinthine lair…

Catch their show this Friday July 11th @ the Metro Gallery with Sonadors, Sun Tornado and Sawhorse.

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MP3: Imperial China – “There is no translation”

Methods: is a tumbling combo of post and experimental flavors. DC trio Imperial China are full-strength with their note-bending and stocked case of effects pedals. Post-rock, punk and hardcore, electronica, prog and even, dare I say, grunge are all celebrated and sampled. Slicing through like a house of knives in an earthquake, Methods: practices astute musicianship, expansive ideas of melody and layering, and a sort of fluidity that buff up the whole package.

But when the bass lines bounce of the scratchy riffs on the beginning of “Sirens”, the instrumental tangents are, in an odd way, predictable. Vocalist Brian Porter starts up his sing-speak, hollering like blunt DC visionary, Ian MacKaye or Marc Paffi (Bear Vs. Shark), and it’s almost too easy. The erratic guitar excursions. The pinpoint bounce of the snare. The spacey romanticism and hope on “Space Anthem”. It flows so well, it may flow too well.

But maybe that’s the point.

Maybe Imperial China is onto a grander statement. The coordination and ease of Methods: goes down like honey, and between the four tracks and their sequencing of gold and spice, these 24 minutes immediately get into a comfortably striking groove. If the whole schtick of an experimental (and in this case, largely instrumental) arrangement is to throw a fork in the road while leaving the mind blown, Imperial China keep a road map on hand.

The opening pass on “There Is No Translation” sums up the Imperial China ideal nicely – pulsating, precise and a little quirky. Methods:, with each song clocking at five or six minutes, does a remarkable job showing off their light-footed knackery, even when the guitar stings, the bass really thumps, or the tempo slows. So when the melodies sound like they are waltzing through glue (like on the spazzy ending of “Radhus”), they are still (amazingly) nimble takes. This aforementioned ease, that effortless forecast of prog and post, is really a magnified expertise. It’s not nearly as much of a curse as a bitter critic (like me!) might take it as, because, really, Methods: is exactly why post genres are as good as they are.

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3 Responses to “Imperial China – Methods: EP”

  1. corrupting the grid says:

    nice review Julia, welcome aboard!

  2. Alex Mudge says:

    I’ve been enjoying Methods: since getting it back in April at the release party. The EP has got continuity that isn’t often found in a band’s freshman recorded output.

  3. Julia Conny says:


    Loving this. Playing “Radhus” now. I’m gonna try to make it out to the show tomorrow night.

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