Wow! Just wow. The new Paranoid Void EP – which hides behind the dubiously simple title of 02, out online this week – will knock you right off your feet and out of yr winter blues. This is, without rival, the best math-rock of 2019; in a year where Ian Williams and BATTLES released a new full-length, that’s saying an awful lot.

For the uninitiated, Paranoid Void is a trio of young female musicians from Osaka, Japan that crafts oft-frenetic math-rock with blistering precision and fluidity. While some post- and math-rock acts have weak links – “Yeah, the guitar’s great, but the bass is pretty derivative, etc etc” – every player in Paranoid Void is a master at the top of their game. As the group darts from one fossil-record-textured passage to the next, you’ll start to wonder where to center your ears. (My advice: just let it wash over you.)

02 picks up where May’s 01 EP left off, with the viscous riffing of “Ukiyo.” Guitarist Meguri, who wrote “Ukiyo,” flashes six-string tones similar to Mylets’ Arizona (think icicle-frost reverb) though she fits 10 notes where Mylets fit one or two. How drummer Mipow, who works the hi-hat and snare admirably in off-kilter pitter-patter, manages to anchor this stuff is totally beyond me. And Yu-Ki is a beast on the bass, bending notes and adding depth and frothing angularity in a way that suggests the trio have studied contemporary modes of avant-jazz as much as they have math-rock. In short: if you thought Don Caballero 2 walked the line between jazz and rock phrasings, you ain’t heard nothing yet.

The second song – which translates to “A Lakeside,” if Google is to be believed – turns down the boil a bit, and flashes occasional reference to second-wave math-rock like Reno’s Rob Ford Explorer, though Mipow often one-ups Explorer’s Greg Lewis in the percussion department. Here, again, the bass is a slithery thing, weaving serpent-like between blades of guitar-grass more than laying down a thick foundation. The song closes with a repeating motif on a guitar that sounds like it’s stumbling down a glass staircase; it can be downright frightening how evocative this stuff is.

The group is damn efficient and apparently has gotten word of that, too. On its website, the band posts a one-shot video of a live take performed in an empty warehouse, almost as if to prove these miracles are being captured sans overdubs. Mind-blowing, and true.

Word is the trio is launching its first U.S. tour in January and February – that’s can’t-miss stuff if it comes to your neighborhood. Now, I could go on waxing poetic about these two songs ‘til New Years (or longer) or you could go out and download the damned thing. Your call.


By Justin Vellucci

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer at MusicTAP and Popdose, a contributor to Pittsburgh City Paper and Punksburgh, and a former staffer at Delusions of Adequacy and Punk Planet. His music writing has appeared in national publications such as American Songwriter and PopMatters, alt-weeklies The Brooklyn Rail and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.