Let’s get the obvious comparison to Ruins out of the way. Bangladeafy’s Jon Ehlers and Atif Haq certainly harken back to that other hyperactive bass / drums duo. But on Ribboncutter, their second album, they update the sound and approach of Tatsuya Yoshida and his varying compatriots while sticking to what is best described as an avant-prog approach. Or what might happen if the rhythm section of King Crimson overdosed on caffeine.
This effort consists of 10 tracks totaling less than 22 minutes. Each is a short burst of energy with the longest still under three minutes. Haq provides jagged rhythms landing somewhere between math rock and technical metal. Ehlers give his bass guitar a workout whether riffing, speed-picking, or providing an angular counterpoint to Haq’s complex pounding. Ehlers also doubles on synths, which adds an additional layer of texture and retro atmosphere to an otherwise frenetic offering. He even provides death-metal vocals on one track, which fit the music well but are easy enough to ignore if that’s not your thing.
There is a lot to like here – a vague late-70’s Magma influence even. Beyond that, Ribboncutter is a fun (though not lighthearted) romp through a frenetic, anxiety-driven set. The album comes out on September 21.