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SYNCHROMYSTICISM

Yowie

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Yowie Synchromysticism album cover
4.50 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ineffable Dolphin Communion
2. Mysterium Tremendum
3. Absurdly Ineffective Barricade
4. The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You
5. The Reason Your House Is Haunted Can Be Found on This Microfiche

Line-up / Musicians

- Christopher Trull / guitar
- Jeremiah Wonsewitz / guitar
- Defenestrator / drums

Releases information

CD/LP Skin Graft Records (US 2017)

Thanks to Conor Fynes for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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YOWIE Synchromysticism ratings distribution


4.50
(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

YOWIE Synchromysticism reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Synchromysticism' - Yowie (88/100)

Say you meet a pretty girl on the promenade. The two of you establish a pleasant rapport. Maybe you go for drinks and dinner; you order the burger with extra cheese. She orders the salad.

After seeing a critically acclaimed film at the Cineplex and a moderately overpriced cab ride, you arrive back at your place. You open a bottle of wine and turn to your music collection. Fumbling over your records you accidentally put on an album by Yowie. You snuggle up on the couch together and listen to your advance promo copy of Synchromysticism. If she doesn't get up or vomit during the album, you may want to consider a relationship. If she says she likes it, you can arrange a wedding ceremony and skip the prenup. Yowie is one of the most extreme listens I've ever heard in the span of rock music. For the right people, they can create some of the most eldritch grooves imaginable. To the unintiated, this is probably the ugliest [%*!#]ing thing since moldy bread.

I have loved Yowie's work at least since Damning with Faint Praise dropped in 2012. The album hinted at a math rock Hell to which harmony was an alien concept. The debut Cryptooology from 8 years prior showed much of the same dissonantly playful chaos. While I'm glad that I had the precursive context of Yowie as a cushion going into Synchromysticism, I don't think it could ever make listening to this band a wholesome, comfortable experience. By their very nature, Yowie aim to lurk from the shadows. I'm sure even the greatest normie among us could recognize the talent in their controlled rhythms and technique, but it takes something more than that to appreciate the end result.

To naked ears, every Yowie album is ugly. Their work is comprised of semi-clean guitars clashing against Frippian bass and free jazz drum kinetics. I couldn't describe their debut much differently than this latest album. It just so happens that Synchromysticism does it better than either the albums that preceded it. Damning with Faint Praise may have nailed the production compared to the debut but Yowie's third finally sounds like they have pinpointed their most promising aspects, namely the chaotic band interplay and dissonant grooves. The most rose-tinted harmonist wouldn't be able to peek a single melody here; if you're in the right mood for it you won't care. Yowie blast away with all the rupture and confidence of a masterclass free jazz band. Although they're fairly clean-sounding (at least from a tonal perspective) Yowie's share at least a partial kinship with dissonant, chaotic powerhouses in the extreme metal scene, namely Deathspell Omega and Jute Gyte. Even if the metal elements aren't necessarily shared (at least on the surface) the extremity is matched in full, byte for byte.

In the years since Damning with Faint Praise, I wouldn't say Yowie have changed up their style sufficiently to note upon. The musicianship was always incredible, and it's not like they had harmonies left to shed on the last album. Even so, there's a significant sense of progress Yowie have churned out on Synchromysticism. The production and musicianship are both noticeably more fluent. While it's hard to discuss their work in more conventional terms of structure and songwriting, Synchromysticism taps into thicker grooves and more vibrant dynamics. When a band like this has such a compelling, unique approach to begin with, sometimes all they need is a subtle tune-up to keep it feeling fresh. Synchromysticism sounds every bit as cutting-edge and relevant as Yowie were when they started out. I don't see any reason why that will stop any time soon; maybe until the rest of the world catches up with their madness.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical.

Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Math rock has always sort of struck me as a genre that came into existence through the same sentiments and mentalities that once drove progressive rock, yet doesn't want to be associated with the latter out of fear of being associated with the negative stereotypes and prejudices held towards prog rock by some people (not to say that there aren't clear stylistic differences between the two genres, of course). Bands that fall under the math rock moniker can be roughly divided into two subcategories: the more well-known of these blends indie and/or emo rock with complex rhythms and time signatures and is represented by bands such as This Town Needs Guns and American Football. The other (which usually gets classified under the RIO/avant-prog moniker on this website) is more influenced by noise music and seems to be mostly explored by Japanese bands. Yowie, despite being from Missouri, definitely falls into the latter category, and is about where you end up if the music of Conlon Nancarrow is too commercial for you. It's easy to mistake the band's first album, Cryptooology (from 2004), for nothing but random, freely improvised noise. However, if you listen to their second album, Damning With Faint Praise (released as late as 2012; yes, this band is notorious for prolonged bouts of inactivity in between albums), it becomes more clear what they're actually doing. The supposed random noise of Cryptooology is actually meticulously composed and played with the utmost precision. The screaming dissonant harmonies, the nigh impossible to follow rhythms that change at lightning speed, every bit of it is carefully planned out. Damning With Faint Praise departs from the same principle but has a little more mercy on its audience: the songs are more clearly divided into identifiable sections, and, unlike the last album, one of the two guitar players is relegated mostly to the bass register so that it's more easy to detect what each instrument is doing. The result sounded like a refinement of the old formula, and yielded an album with a notably distinct and very intriguing sound.

So how much further has Yowie evolved with Synchromysticism, released five years after the band's previous album? Well... not that much further. This music is still extremely complicated, virtuosic and atonal, but if you listen to it right after Damning With Faint Praise there's not a whole lot that will catch you off guard, except for one truly remarkable aspect which sets it apart from its predecessors and which certainly surprised me when it finally occurred to me: some of these songs are actually... catchy. Tell me you don't want to dance to the 3/4 beat of "The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You", and tell me the menacing 7/8 melody of "Absurdly Ineffective Barricade" isn't infectious as all hell! It takes a very specific kind of talent to make the highly intricate and experimental music that Yowie makes, but it takes a whole different kind of talent to add an element of immediate memorability and 'toe-tappability' to a melody that's so ugly by conventional standards. More than any other song on this album, this one proves that Yowie is certainly no one-trick pony. If they keep up making each consecutive album slightly more listener-friendly at their current tempo, I imagine they'll end up at their own Love Beach approximately in the year 2286, so don't give up hope, ye faint-of-heart music lovers! This band will eventually give you what you're looking for.

Speaking of evolution, one thing I find amusing about this band is the progression of their song titling habits, from Cryptooology's gibberish names with three syllables at most ("Towanda", "Talisha", etc.) to this album's overlong and nonsensical titles such as "The Reason Your House Is Haunted Can Be Found On This Microfiche". And while I'm meandering about the album's non-musical aspects: I think the album cover looks gorgeous and its intricate web-like pattern is a perfect analogy for the music found within, but to be fair, it's still surpassed in awesomeness by the cover of Cryptooology, which actually showed the Bigfoot-like creature from Australian folklore from which the band takes its name.

In conclusion, while I think Damning With Faint Praise is more original and a more technically accomplished product, Synchromysticism is still an impressive achievement and has merits that shouldn't be overlooked. Listen to it if you dare.

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