Math rock is a rhythmically complex, often guitar-based, style of experimental rock and indie rock acts that emerged in the late 1990s, influenced by progressive rock bands like King Crimson, as well as 20th century minimalist composers such as Steve Reich. It is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords. Whereas most rock music uses a basic 4/4 meter (however accented or syncopated), math rock frequently uses asymmetrical time signatures such as 7/8, 11/8, or 13/8, or features constantly changing meters based on various groupings of 2 and 3.
Math-rock is a sound whose roots trace back to the American hardcore scene of the late-'80s.… Math-rock is, as its name suggests, renowned for its complexity. Where rock'n'roll is eternally stuck in 4/4 time, math-rock bands deliberately employed strange meters like 7/8 and 11/8. Bands flaunt virtuosity, not as individual players, but as a unit: stopping and starting at irregular intervals, turning on a dime and breaking in new, unexpected directions as one.