i think that 9/8 may have completely supplanted 7/8 as my favourite time signature.
7/8 is possibly the ultimate rock metre: listen to the dillinger escape plan's 'sugar coated sour', several 65daysofstatic tracks, or, even, why not the end section of my own 'klein bottle fish tank'; 7/8 can be pummeling, but somehow beautifully symmetrical.
intuitively, 7/8 can split into a compound of 3 beats and 4 beats, or 2-3-2, and so on. in the same way, 9/8 divides into 5 and 4, or any combination of threes and twos. or even 8 and 1, as in soundgarden's 'never the machine forever': the rhythm of the bass line is '¦:do-do-doo, do-do-doo, do-do-doo, do-do-doo, doo :¦' (using 'do' for half beats and 'doo' for full beats). the frankly wonderful scottish (or possibly geordie) folk song 'byker hill' is difficult to resolve in anything but an emphasis on every single beat.
but there's another way to express the metre, and this is why i love it so much now; consider either radiohead's 'the tourist' or super furry animal's 'run, christian, run!'. they sound normal, maybe a little waltzy. in fact, they're in 9/8 as some sort of meta-waltz: 9 beats wrapped up in three main beats, each lasting three third-beats, like how 12/8 in jazz and blues collapses into four main beats each consisting of a triplet. it flows so naturally that people don't seem to notice anything 'unusual' (as they would have it) is going on.
it would an interesting experiment to see what 9/9 sounds like. i imagine that 9/8 signifies each beat of the 9 there are ultimately is still evenly divided into 2s, 4s, 8s, &c. 9/9 might mean it would infinitely split down in 3s.
i was also wondering what the golden ration would sound like as a harmony; it turns out i'm not the first.
by the way, this is my 504th post, including ones that weren't published. lets have a drink.
at the crystal dome!