This isn't the first opportunity to get acquainted with Many Series. The group, which is composed of former members of seminal indie-rock bands Giant's Chair, Quitter's Club, and Black Calvin, formed three years ago. Since then, Many Series has played scattered shows, following an erratic schedule partly necessitated by guitarist Scott Hobart's touring schedule (with Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys).
"As far as bands that I've been in, this is the closest one to nonexistence," Hobart says. "But in the meantime, I think we did some good work."
While the members' previous bands covered uncharted territory with their often jarring melody structures and unorthodox time signatures, with Aerialist, Many Series moves to new extremes, playing droning instrumental dirges that alternately pulse with noisy intensity and lightly pummel with persistent percussive ambience. At times, the group will pound away on the same plodding riffs for minutes at a time, which Hobart describes as an attempt at establishing "timelessness."
"We're blurring time by repetition," he explains. "There's a certain type of hypnosis and loss of objectivity that takes place after a certain amount of time, meaning it takes X amount of repetitions for someone to forget how long the song's been going on. I'm interested in finding out when that occurs and if it occurs at different times for different people."
This experiment has inspired mixed feelings from those who have attended the band's shows. Some have been moved by the intricate dual-guitar interaction and the building intensity of its compositions, while others have been driven to distraction by redundancy. Both camps, Hobart says, appreciated the songs on some level.
"Some people liked the music and some people didn't, but the people who didn't like it liked the fact that it was so absurd that it just kept going, and that was something we were definitely interested in," he says. "We're all interested in absurdity."
Although Many Series won't be creating any new tunes, the absurdity is far from over. Hobart sees the band heading in an even stranger direction.
"We are interested in staying together just for the sake of ideas," he says. "We're kind of interested in releasing research papers about new ideas that we might have. We like being in a band, but we don't want to write or play music in this context anymore, so we're going to try to maintain the facade of bandhood as long as we can without actually doing anything. We'll just release a paper from time to time that says if we were making music, this is what it would be about right now. It's all about the surface at that point. We would still have an image, and we're interested in imagery for sure, but we just want to experiment with the languages associated with being in a band that aren't necessarily musical."
Judging by the band's bio, which explains the symbolic meaning of the name Many Series in great detail (revealing, among other insights, that the "M" stands for money and the "S" for sex and that the play on "miniseries" is intended to "challenge the relationship between two fairly common words"), such papers should be eminently more readable than the average academic output. Hobart says they'll include various visual aids, such as band photos, for further aesthetic enhancement. "It seemed like we ended up spending a lot more time taking band photos towards the end than we did actually writing or practicing," he admits.