Yowie — Synchromysticism
(Skin Graft GR122, 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-09-27
Synchromysticism is an EP of high energy craziness from this St Louis trio, five tracks comprising 33 minutes of ever-changing rhythms and riffs tightly coordinated for all their unconventional aspects. The guitar patterns often involve screeches, wails, and other noises that aren’t part of a normal vocabulary of notes and chords. The band consists of the founder, drummer Shawn "Defenestrator" O'Connor and two guitarists, Jeremiah Wonsewitz and Christopher Trull. There’s no bass player, so one of the guitarists handles the low end, either on a baritone guitar or using an octave pedal. The closest comparison I can make is with the earlier recordings of Ahleuchatistas — Yowie has the same kind of manic intensity coupled with ridiculously tight arrangements full of meter changes and unexpected accents. Within these confines, there’s a fair amount of variety — they wisely give us a break from the onslaught by toning it down a bit from time to time. O’Connor’s playing is the key to it all working. His parts are busy and impressive, handling the odd meters in ways that don’t involve simply hitting the ones when they come around. He’s shifting the accents, doubling up the beats, and marking the accents from the guitars in ways that can’t possibly involve much that isn’t meticulously planned. I don’t think there’s much room for improvisation or interpretation here, as any deviation from the rehearsed form would derail everything. It’s an impressive feat of musicianship, and fun to hear. My one real complaint about the recording is that it’s mixed with the two guitars almost completely at the extremes of the stereo spectrum, while the drums are placed in a normal fashion. Listening to the music on headphones is really annoying, with the low notes in the left ear and the high notes all on the right.
Related artist(s): Yowie
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more