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Mzylkypop — Threnodies and Ad Hocs
(Discus Music 171, 2024, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-06-18

Threnodies and Ad Hocs Cover art

When Michael Somerset Ward started Mzylkypop, his musical goal was to make his music his way, unfettered by anyone else’s ideas about what music should sound like or how it should be put together. I suppose the name Mzylkypop symbolizes that “go your own way” attitude, appearing unpronounceable to a native English speaker, and not producing any results from Google Translate either. Threnodies and Ad Hocs is the second Mzylkypop release, following Kiedy Wilki Zawyja? from 2021. That title is translatable — it’s Polish for When Do Wolves Howl? Ward’s music is defiantly eclectic, freely blending elements that might be regarded as incompatible by other artists. Overdriven surf-rock crashes into 70s movie soundtrack music, then gets interrupted by a moody Eastern European ballad, only to be swamped by electronic noise, free jazz, and deadpan spoken word. Industrial post-punk, a moody torch-singer waltz, and swampy blues-rock also figure in the mix. As jarring as that may seem from the description, Ward makes it work, aided by a talented set of collaborators: vocalists Sylwia Anna Drwal, Adi Newton, Pete Hope, Stephen Mallinder, Vina Figueroa, and David Was; Ward plays a range of woodwinds along with electronics and keyboards; and more than a dozen other contribute guitar, bass, drums, strings, woodwinds, and keyboards. In preparation for this review, I listened to the first album on Bandcamp, and I would say that on the whole it is more upbeat and less moody than this release, though just as varied. Both are excellent and enjoyable, just with different feelings about them.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Mzylkypop

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