the new sound of numbers
The New Sound of Numbers are an experimental post-punk band based in
Athens, GA. It is fronted by Hannah Jones on 12-string electric guitar and
features members of Pylon, The Olivia Tremor Control, and Bubbly Mommy
Gun. Their album "Invisible Magnetic" is the follow up to their debut
album "Liberty Seeds" which was released in 2006 by Cloud Recordings. The
new album, released digitally and on limited edition clear blue vinyl,
has a more celebratory feel than the first, and the driving rhythms and
layered percussion lend themselves to both a sense
of urgency and instant danceability. Violin, clarinet, melodica, synth,
and trumpet beautifully interplay throughout the songs, and occasionally
take a turn towards musique concrete while also bolstering the upbeat feel
of the songs. The rhythms of "Invisible Magnetic" are even more tribal,
with an African influence, than those of "Liberty Seeds", whose songs were
described by Electrelane’s Mia Clarke in a review for Wire Magazine as
"giving a nod to the Slits and Lizzie Mercier Descloux" Recommended if you
like The Raincoats, Deerhoof, Pylon, Neu!, and Electrelane.
Some recent press clips:
The Wire 274 December 2006, page 60. review by Mia Clarke
"Given that she is a percussionist for Athens, Georgia outfits like Circulatory System and The Instruments, it's no surprise that
Hannah Jones uses textural, rhythmic layering and interplay, as the defining elements of her solo project, The New Sound of Numbers.
For her TNSON debut Jones is assisted by member of fellow Elephant 6 groups Olivia Tremor Control and Elf Power, but she moves away
from their hazy, tripped out neo-psychedelia into the realm of modulated Krautrock beats and experimental electronica.
On the album's firm yet playful highlight, "Minimal Animal", Jones double-tracks her flat vocals to emulate medieval chants,
while the silkily powerful bassline and tribal rhythms nod to The Slits and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. Less pulsing and concise,
"La" is a more immediate example of Jones's use of her voice as much as a rhythmic tool as a melodic one. By effectively repeating one note,
Jones creates an echoing sprawl of percussive vocals, like a child calling out in a stretch of empty canvas.
Elsewhere, she and the group cover more dissonant ground. On "Is Is Was Was", the throbbing, heavy opening beat collapses under a
wash of electronic distortion to unravel a section of Sun Ra-like Improv bristling with anxious violin scratches and chaotic washes of guitar.
As with this track, much of the music on "Liberty Seeds" sounds like segments of a yet to be arranged mosaic. The songs have a
disjointed quality that feel as though everything could fall apart at any moment - yet the arrangements maintain a consistency of character
and concept that belie the fragility of their form."
Bust Magazine October/November 2011 Volume 71
Everett True's First Ladies of Rock
"They don't stand too much on convention, they're too busy being busy. The New Sound of Numbers hit a motorik groove, like Quickspace or Neu! or someone left-field like that, and stick with it until it no longer feels good. If they were from Australia they might sound like Love of Diagrams. But they're not. They're from Athens, GA - home of Pylon and the B-52's, and a totally thriving DIY scene - and so, irretrievably, they sound like this.
"The best girl bands you've never heard" of by Everett True
Think: Beaches, Tunabunny, The Raincoats
Athens, Ga: 10 Athens, Greece: 2
Flagpole, February 28. 2007 Volume 21, No. 8
63 Crayons. The New Sound of Numbers, Young Sinclairs at Caledonia Lounge
Live Review by Emerson Dameron
"What was that one Cocteau quote? Something about his hatred and fear of originality. It's slipping my mind right now. Anyhow, pop music at this point can't really be original, but to succeed it must always be, in some fashion, surprisng.
Hannah Jones, percussionist and "visual artist" for local psych-pop troupe The Circulatory System, is at the center of The New Sound of Numbers. Her System cohorts John Fernandes and W. Cullen Hart, along with Bill Doss of the Olivia Tremor Control (which was huge back way back when, and actually featured some of the people who are in The Circulatory System now... ah, forget it) and the ubiquitous Heather McIntosh show up for the party as well. While there's nothing that's unique to Jones of her playmates, her tastes in source material are delightfully catholic, as she's a natural at disorienting juxtapositions. The band's debut album Liberty Seeds, released several months back, might b the weirdest pure-pop record these folks have turned out since the heyday of Elephant 6; really, it's a lot heavier than that Beatles-y jive.
Within its delightful 45 minutes Liberty Seeds conjures the straight-faced wackiness of Fluxus, the wobbly space funk of Sun Ra, the cleansing monotony of This Heat and Can…and that's just in the first three tracks. As it goes, it meets, (passively) kills and (unceremoniously) buries the prissy conceits of '90's indie rock, watching the smugness dissolve into a greater pop consciousness. Jones' tuneless vocals recall Kim Gordon, but they're not angry, just severely, severely disoriented. Through its course, surprises abound. Tonight's show is a CD release party for headliner 63 Crayons - see feature story on page 28 - but show up early for the full effect."
Atlanta Creative Loafing, November 16 - November 22, 2006
THE SOUNDS OF SCIENCE article by Mosi Reeves
Hannah Jones doesn't sing love songs. She's more interested in other things such as natural environments and magic machines. In the past Jones has expressed herself through visual art (under the pseudonym Nia and the Cosmic Egg) and playing percussion for Athens bands such as Circulatory System and The Instruments. On her latest project, The New Sound of Numbers, she layers drums, guitar and vocals into a chiming, incantatory journey reminiscent of The Raincoats and Sun Ra.
"I don't have a scientific mind. But the more that I've been painting and working on music and thinking a certain way, I'm more into science than I've ever been",she says. Noting the common threads between her paintings (pictures often containing kaleidoscopic color schemes and whirligigs) and her music she adds, "There are a lot of similar ideologies - the ideas of undercurrents, invisible communications and underworkings of everyday life."
Liberty Seeds, The New sound of Numbers' debut released in October on Cloud Recordings, gathers songs about atmosphere, seeds, and experiments. "Tuning the Air" kilts back and forth on drum kicks and "Minimal Animal" propels along on rhythmic guitar. One topic Jones doesn't cover on Liberty Seeds however, is her personal relationships (unless Frequency Transmission Systems" is some weird kind of metaphor). Instead, she focuses on her relationship with the cosmos. "I tend to be more of an introspective person, and that's sort of the the way I communicate with the world around me," she says.
Jones recorded most of the album over the last few years, eventually recruiting Heather McIntosh, John Fernandes, W. Cullen Hart (also members of Circulatory System and The Instruments), Kathryn Refi and Josh Skinner to help finish it. The New Sound of Numbers has sinced coalesced into an Athens-style group with a relatively fluid lineup, save for Jones.
"I like both aspects," she says of the difference between solo and as a band leader. "We have a couple of new songs we've been playing live that we want to record. It'll be interesting to see how differently it will work, and have it be a band participatory process instead of doing it on my own."
(release date: 2006)
(release date: oct. 15, 2013)
reviews & articles:
* The Philler - Liberty Seeds album review - 2007
* Playback:stl - Liberty Seeds album review - 2006
* Stylus Magazine - Liberty Seeds album review - 2006
* Raven Sings the Blues - Liberty Seeds album review - 2006
* Norman Records - Liberty Seeds album review - 2006
* You Ain't No Picasso - Liberty Seeds - 2006
* The Phoenix - 2006