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Yowie - Cryptooology CD (album) cover

CRYPTOOOLOGY

Yowie

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.24 | 15 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kifo
4 stars (This is my first review, and this is one of the most underrated albums I've ever heard, that also happens to be on this site, so forgive the slightly long review, this album deserves a crowd on its side).

4 stars. If you have the energy and focus to give to this kind of music, it will likely be one of the most rewarding albums in your collection. If you don't, it will probably get less than one total play on your stereo, which is saying a lot, seeing as this album is only half an hour long. So what kind of music is it?

The music on Cryptooology is overly complex, fractured, spring-cannon, dead pan instrumental math rock. Seeing as 'complex' is a word that gets thrown around a lot, I feel I should emphasize it here. I have a hard time finding anything to compare it to, but I can say that memorizing (I've listened to this album at least once a week for 4 years now, it happens) every song on this 30 minute voyage has done nothing to make this music boring, however it has ruined my taste for anything but the most over the top avant- metal, and in fact most any 'lazy' complexity that I used to greatly enjoy. There is absolutely no breathing room at all on this album (save maybe the last 2 minutes). Easily the most complex music I've ever heard. However, it is rewarding in that it is 'dead pan', clean, and (mostly) precise.

Whereas some math rock artists (Tera Melos and Zach Hill come to mind) like to simply bathe and saturate the music in effects and overdubs, and bury substance beneath murky layers, Yowie seems to have a phobia of any obscuring at all, beyond the compositional. There are no bizarre tape tricks, no distortion, no time shifting, no sonically-destroyed vocals, or anything of that sort. The fact that these three guys simply perform this music, and do nothing to make it more 'difficult' beyond the structural aspects of the songwriting is really what draws me to praise this album. There are some math rock bands that just end up sounding like an execution of a lifeless composition, however, and they seem to avoid this also...

After endless extensive exploration of this album, I can say with certainty that this isn't lifeless and cold music, something which tends to plague the majority of 'normal' math rock bands out there. Like Ahleuchatistas, Yowie seem to play with absurdist humor, which is refreshing, after a long slew of 'dark', depressing math rock albums in my teenage days. The absolutely ridiculous spring- factory-on-fire atmosphere of this music prohibits me (and a few of my friends) from not at least slightly dancing while it's playing. Yes, it's possible to dance to this music, actually it's extremely fun, given that you have some grasp of the songs and don't have any problem thrashing yourself around, pounding on whatever objects are around you, and trust me, that's exactly the kind of dancing this music lends itself to.

I've seen countless people completely write off this album, and it's understandable. I think that this kind of music really asks too much from most people. However, if you're like me, and seem to get bored with even the music touted as 'complex' on PA (which isn't necessarily bad music...), this may be exactly what you need. I remember spending at least a week with this album before I could even distinguish songs, and even then based only on the first few seconds. After about 200 listens, I had a couple songs down in my head, and another 500 or so later, I'm still hearing new things.

Give this album a chance, really. The amount of content and substance and value in these 30 minutes easily surpasses a good number of bands entire discography, you just have to be willing to search for, and find it.

There are a few moments on this album I feel could be treated as highlights, and I feel I should mention them. The first is the end of the first track, 'Trina'. Playing an absolutely dizzying ON/OFF riff with seemingly no pattern at all, why not double the speed and play it again? Then what? Double the speed again! This part was one the last things I memorized. The last 1/3rd of the third track "Tara", featuring one of the most grabbing tempo/mood changes on the album, a sudden drop out of the fractured speed-bonk style into a short, almost funky slow paced riff, for about 7 seconds, then out again, and into another dizzying and needlessly complex (in a good way) ON/OFF hit riff. The 5th track, 'Toni', features what is probably the longest repeated 'riff' on the album during the second half, an almost-descending interlocking near-tonal pattern, making this track the most 'accessible', in spite of the start.

(Oh, and hey, if the music is too much for you at the speed its recorded, trying playing it at 50% speed for a real treat.)

IN CONCLUSION: Despite how it may seem at first, Yowie aren't out to get one over on you. In fact, they aren't out for anything at all! Get this one, give it some time, and then decide, as any first impressions will be useless. Four stars, an excellent addition, if only for novelty.

kifo | 4/5 |

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