To say that Lymbyc Systym represent the next large movement might be an overstatement, but their methodology is certainly becoming more prevalent among emerging artists. Almost all of us can remember being enamored with a certain technological breakthrough during our childhood, from color television to smart-phones. Many young artists today can probably remember when Atari or the internet first came out, which are now regarded as a few of the first interactive technological experiences available to the general public. Growing up in the ’80s or ’90s meant having these advancements pushed in your face, whether it was the social functions of arcades or the necessity of computer skills. Interest in technology unsurprisingly peaked as a result during this time among the public, whose younger demographic grew up to be already accustomed to the technological skills that older individuals have difficulty grasping. The musicians naturally hold true to traditional theory and influences, but many also fused their tech-savvy skills into aspiring musicianship to create music that used both today’s latest technology and the influential musicians of yesterday. Lymbyc Systym, among several others, have begun using this to create a successful project by today’s standards.
Brothers Jared and Michael Bell possess the obvious modernistic edge as the founders of Lymbyc Systym, and with that they should know that glitzy production and VSTs are not going to disguise sloppy songwriting (except in the genre of trance perhaps). Luckily for their listeners, the Bell brothers are not going to overburden you with robotic tendencies. Their influences range everywhere from free-jazz to thumping indie-rock, resulting in a glistening combination of powerful musical layers and styles that could probably be classified best as post-rock. Their approach is a tad more futuristic than others in the genre though, owing more to those in the vein in The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev instead of Mogwai or Mono; the vibe is distinctively futuristic even if electronic forces are only subtly prevalent. Possessing the orchestral beauty of Sigur Rós and versatile prose of a Broken Social Scene in one, Lymbyc Systym successfully tread the dangerous waters of loops being implemented into post-rock. Whether it is percussive horse hoofs, washes of breaking waves, or trickles of a pulsing synth, Lymbyc Systym implement it all beautifully without sacrificing the delicately authentic nature of group-based post-rock.
Lymbyc Systym’s second full-length album, Shutter Release, should open great doors for the Arizona-based brothers, much in the way Lost and Safe did for The Books in 2005. I make this reference because the two duos are currently touring together, in addition to possessing similar styles of music that must make it a treat for audiences interested in sample-supported post-rock. Note the “supported” emphasis, for neither band make an issue of overusing it and abandoning the genre’s ethics. Both groups manipulate the boundaries of post-rock and electronica, producing a mesh of madness that is often incomparable. Lymbyc Systym shows this as well as versatility; the varying tempos on the album are remarkable for its diversity, like the gradual build-up contained after the imploring brass and twinkling of keys in the self-titled effort where it explodes from delicate chamber-music to a full-blown haze of shoegaze and intensifying post-rock. The previous two genres are perfectly represented through keys and rhythm, as guitars are prominent but more in their tonal direction. Their melodic content is irrelevant but done so intentionally to ensure the diversity and authentic entertainment of the track. Listening to this one, among others on the album, a few times or so will reinforce this.
Shutter Release can sound everything from dark and brooding to effervescent and triumphant, though its main point of interest is how these moods are delivered. The swipes of keys over bursts of childish laughter in “Teddy”, the infusion of guitars and keys to create the monstrous driving melody in “Ghost Clock” before reverting into anthemic indie-rock bliss, and the pit-pattering of percussion over unfolding organs and pulsating synth chords… these are just a few of the audibly descriptive examples I can provide after listening to Shutter Release a few times. The songs are so well constructed and maneuvered that the replay value on this one is tremendous, whether you are listening for that single hook or the entire song’s cumulative value. Everything is present in these tracks, as there is so much ambition and exploration that the topic of one’s enjoyment becomes subjective in a sense. There is so much to like here that the only thing listeners have to argue over is the best moment of any track. On an album like Shutter Release with so much to admire though, it would be unjustified to choose just one.
RIYL: The Books, Broken Social Scene, Sigur Rós, This Will Destroy You, The Album Leaf, Do Make Say Think