Square Roots

Multiplying geeky pop by brainy drum 'n' bass, Triangle's new math adds up

"We just wanted to make sure we were going to do it right, but we weren't sure what 'right' was," Tester says. "So we just piled up a ton of keyboards. Next thing you know, we're the Human League."

Their four-song EP, released last fall, explored the minimalism of late-Seventies art pop. No particular sound dominates, and instead, the disk comes off as the sum of its electronic details--the way "Back to Squares," for instance, breaks down into an acoustic strum before rejoining with a synthesized horn chorus. And the music's success isn't a matter of lyrics, either, though the images--a resonant pattern of consonants--provide color.

What holds these songs together is the internal logic of their rhythmic development--partly composed, partly improvised. What makes the best electronic music stick to your brain is the fact that it seems to expose you to a kindred sensibility--that you share a sense of rhythmic progression with the entity responsible for creating what you hear.

Which is not to say that Triangle have settled on any single style. "The EP is a lot squishier than anything we'd do now," Tester insists, aware that cheesy goodness is part of the band's appeal to many listeners. It certainly helped squeak them to the 77th spot on Radio K's listener poll of the Top 77 of 1999.

"It's almost in our best interest to be as goofy as possible," Tester says, "so we're trying to avoid that."

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