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YOWIE

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Yowie biography
Hailing from St. Louis (US) the Math Rock band Yowie formed in 2001, under the steady hands of dual guitar and drum trio; Jeremiah Wontsewitz (guitar), Jimbo (guitar), Defenestrator (drums). Three years in the making Yowie was to bring out their debt album Cryptooology on October 5, 2004. From this point onwards Math Rock was to take a new step forward.

Signed to Skin Graft records, their line of music was set; intense and eccentric. Taking there influences from some of the best in the genre (from Ruins to Melt-Banana) they titter on the line of discordance and insanity. The dual guitar line-up works beautifully with the bands ideals, creating intricate almost spidery sounding passages; sounding somewhat similar to US Maple. From the drumming department we see nothing but the highest calibre. While not taking standards to the mind-boggling speeds of Zach Hill (Hella), the beats are interwoven precisely throughout the guitar onslaught.

Yowie is a must hear for Math rock fans or people who love the intensity from the infamous Japanese noise scene or just people who love a taste of unpredictable, aggressive instrumental avant-garde. Warning - Not for the light hearted.

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YOWIE discography


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YOWIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 20 ratings
Cryptooology
2004
4.00 | 4 ratings
Damning with Faint Praise
2012
4.50 | 8 ratings
Synchromysticism
2017

YOWIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

YOWIE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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YOWIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Synchromysticism by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.50 | 8 ratings

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Synchromysticism
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

 Synchromysticism by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.50 | 8 ratings

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Synchromysticism
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Cryptooology' - Yowie (6/10)

Yowie offer me an interesting opportunity, as a listener and critic alike. While most artists and albums will tend to strike me one way or the other, these math rock partisans have concocted something that continues to leave me baffled. First impressions and conventional music standards might deem the dissonant, unfurnished sound repulsive, but upon closer inspection, there's a brilliance and calculation to Yowie that may elude all but the more persistent listeners. With that in mind, for all of the praise I may give Yowie and "Cryptooology", any recommendation should come with a warning: this is not a musical taste for the faint of heart or easily unimpressed. Love or hatred of their perpetual dissonance and chaotic form regardless, there is method and meticulous thought behind this breakdown of rock tradition, and that alone should make it a worthy venture for the more adventurous listeners out there.

If some of the other things written about it in the past are any indicator, "Cryptooology" has become something of a bogeyman in the rock underground, with many of the album's greatest supporters still openly admitting to the challenge the music presents. More impressive still is that Yowie have been able to spark this controversy with nothing more than the accepted 'minimum' for rock music: two guitars and a drumkit. There's not a single audible effect or particularly colourful guitar tone used here; the drums and clean electric twang sound as if the instruments have been spared a moment's tweaking or embellishment. Many musicians would never seek to ascend to such heights of strangeness without a hint of effects, and it's that deviation from the norm that partly earns Yowie such uniqueness to their sound and style.

Of course, the hard part comes with describing Yowie's approach to composition itself, which does not lend itself too well to traditional analysis. Although there is a noted repetition of some ideas, the flood of dissonant chords, furiously calculated drum bursts and creeping harmonics tends to flow at a similar pace throughout the album, robbing the tracks of any perceivable uniqueness from one another. Most of the time, one guitar will provide a barrage of ugly chords while the other adds a more varied sense of twang and eerie sonic experimentation, the likes of which I might only liken to the way rain might sound hitting a windowpane in the middle of a chthonic nightmare. At the end of the day, Defenestrator's drumwork is left to hold it all together. While the constantly shifting rhythmic pattern seems to lay down a framework for the other instruments to explore at will, even the drums are immensely unforgiving to the inattentive listener. There are times here when the drums sound like they're presenting a warped rendition of jazz, and others where the calculated oppression reminds me of death metal.

Somewhat contrary to the greater focus of its successor "Damning With Faint Praise", "Cryptooology" finds Yowie at a time where they may be too chaotic for their own good. I'll take a good musical challenge any day over something tried and true, but this album doesn't get much easier with experience. In spite of the evident precision and predetermined nature of this supposed chaos, it's difficult to pick out any idea on its own. "Cryptooology" flows as one a single primordial entity, swirling and consuming all in its path. While it's bound to leave a strong first impression (whether it's a good or bad impression is up to the listener) but the album sorely feels the lack of dynamic. Even the most challenging outsider art should offer some respite along the way; otherwise, listeners become desensitized somewhere along the way. Yowie's style is plainly weird and challenging enough to keep a listener engaged far longer than its brief half-hour spin, but I can't help but feel that the album might have benefitted from a respite somewhere along the way. Past that, it's up for each individual listener to decide for themselves. One thing's for certain, however: do not expect to be underwhelmed.

 Damning with Faint Praise by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Damning with Faint Praise
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Damning with Faint Praise' - Yowie (7/10)

Yowie achieved a measure of underground notoriety with "Cryptooology", an album that turned rock conventions on their side, having more in common with the aesthetic of Stravinsky or Morton Feldman than Led Zeppelin. While certainly not a taste for everyone, Yowie had the uncanny ability to create the impression of chaos with meticulous precision and a firm- albeit subtle- structure of composition. On "Damning with Faint Praise", Yowie follow up their cult classic debut with another half hour of sonic terror. Especially for reviewing's sake, Yowie put me in a very interesting position. Depending on how a listener approaches the album, their brand of audio-calculus can come across as sonic heaven, or senseless rubbish. Although all music is subjective to an extent, "Damning with Faint Praise" gives an equal proportion of reasons both to love or hate it. Although their style takes a few listens to grow and become accustomed to, "Damning with Faint Praise" is one of the most innovative deconstructions of rock music I have heard, made less impressive only due its homogeneous approach. I may have wished for something more varied and dynamic than what is offered here, but as far as dissonant, challenging and twisted math/avant rock goes, Yowie can do no wrong.

Particularly upon first listen, a ton of comparisons raced through my head. The dissonant, jarring and distinctive styles of Captain Beefheart and death metal band Gorguts both came to mind. In truth, while there are plenty of bands that will come to mind here for any versed avant nerd, Yowie have forged their own niche. Developing upon the sound of "Cryptoology", "Damning with Faint Praise" injects the style with greater precision and a more fitting production. For the most part however, the ingredients remain the same as they were eight years ago: furious, sporadic drumwork (I've read appropriate comparisons to Death Grips/Hella's Zach Hill), clean-toned guitars playing ugly, dissonant chords, sketchy bass grooves, and a miasmatic, rushing sense of composition. Each of these elements offer a challenge to the listener on their own, and if these instrumental tracks were being heard separately, it might give the impression of listless improvisation. Yowie's ingenuity occurs somewhere after the band throw all of their instruments and ideas into the mixing bowl. The style of composition is largely rhapsodic and barrages the listener with fresh ideas at a consistently furious pace. "Damning with Faint Praise" doesn't even reach the half-hour mark, but rest assured that it takes several listens before the chaos starts making sense. Although first impressions are bound to leave many listeners scratching their heads, there is the growing sense as listens go by that the initially obnoxious noise is the product of much thought and deliberation. The band's performance is kept raw and aggressive: I don't think I've ever heard a clean guitar tone sound so angry!

Although there aren't any moments here that are memorable on their own, Yowie leaves a strong hollistic impression. Although it's certainly a challenging listen, "Damning with Faint Praise" is very consistent, both in terms of quality and its style. Although "I Could Care Less" opens with an uncharacteristic thirty second album break sparing percussion, Yowie use the same few elements throughout the album. Thanks in large part to the album's brevity and intensely busy compositions, the style never feels exhausted, if only a bit fatigued. Although the single-sighted direction here is as impressive as anything I've heard in math rock, it would have been more impressive to hear Yowie take their creativity down different avenues. In truth, "Damning with Faint Praise" isn't too much different from "Cryptooology", and anyone who loved or hated the debut is bound to feel the same way this time around. It may be something of a one-trick pony, but that doesn't negate the fact that- in terms of musicianship, composition, and style- Yowie are incredibly impressive. If you're open to a more dissonant and twisted shade of rock music, "Damning with Faint Praise" is highly recommended.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by 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.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars "Cryptooology" is the debut full-length studio album by US, St. Louis, Missouri based experimental rock act Yowie. The album was released through Skin Graft Records in 2004. Yowie formed in 2000 and after signing to Skin Graft Records in 2001 spend the next 3 years writing the material for "Cryptooology".

Therefore it may baffle some listeners that "Cryptooology" only features 29:57 minutes of music, but the 7 tracks on the album are of the kind that features so many different parts, rhythm changes, time signatures, and just unconventional compositional structures and playing, that 29:57 minutes are probably more than enough for most listeners.

Yowie is an instrumental power trio featuring two guitarists and a drummer. Their music is deliberately composed without any form of recognisable melody and the song structures are hard to follow. This is totally over the top and dissonant instrumental math rock/avant garde rock with rhythm/time signature changes every second and a total disregard for hooks of any kind ( at least to these ears). I think of bands like Collapsar and Dysrhythmia but itīs important that I emphasize that those bands after all have recognisable elements in their crazy musical exploits while Yowie seem to search for the ultimative dissonant and complex version of the genre.

All seven tracks on the album have female names (starting with T) as titles but Iīm not sure I would be flattered if I was a woman and someone named one of these weird sounding songs after me (or maybe Iīm getting this wrong, and "Cryptooology" is actually an ode to the complexity of women...hmm thereīs a thought). When all these rather negative opinions and descriptions of the bandīs music have been said, there is some twisted and perverted part of me that takes some kind of pleasure in "Cryptooology" and it is hard not at least to some degree to acknowledge the outstanding musicianship, the visionary approach to songwriting, and the adventurous choice of notes. This is in other words very much an aquired taste but Iīm sure that thereīs an audience for this kind of music out there (albeit a very small one).

The production is a bit garage low-fi sounding but it suits the music well. Upon conclusion "Cryptooology" is an interesting album from a musicianīs perspective as your ears are challenged with unorthodox playing, choice of notes, and unconventional song structures, but to my ears this sounds more like a crazy sonic experiement than any cohesive form of musical expression, and I think very few people would listen to this the way most people listen to music for hooks or anything resembling memorability. So points for creativity, but no points for trying to write music that few outside the band would probably enjoy (yeah I know Iīm pressuming a lot, but I stand by my point that not many people will find listening pleasure here, if they arenīt a musicians themselves looking for a challenge). A 2 star (40%) rating.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Hox

5 stars When I first heard this record, It came in my mind at once, perfectly clear, the meaning of it all.

This guys took Killing Time by Massacre (Fred Frith, Bill Laswell and Fred Maher) - especially the amazing Legs, a masterpiece deconstruction of the skeleton of rock'n'roll - and expanded in every direction the concept. In the incipit of Tenesha You can even have the impression to hear the damper trumpet opening Surfing, but it's just another wizard trick by the guitars.

It's pure mindboggling the nake results: I mean, You can't really sit by to the (apparent) sonic mayehm. But the superficial approach is rapidly overhelmed by how they manage this reconstruction. Nothing is random here. It's not mathcore... but math is the basis of all this musical object. The more You listen, the more You get it.

It's impossible to describe the single parts of this record, as You can't glean a single element from the body of this work, which have sense in its integrity, and, Yes, have sense only if You accept all the ear-torture entirely. The strenght of this record is his unconfortability. But as latin said Per Aspera ad Astra, meaning You have to suffer to reach Your aim. This record is suffer for real, but there's a aim and there will be a reward for who will resist.

Trying to give some reference for who wants to understand what kind of record is this, I can say it's a continuous duel between a couple of guitar. On Skin Graft website they call it sonic Kung Fu: a perfect definition! They recall Arto Lindsay's work on first record of Lounge Lizards: 1000 times more technical but with the same impression they substituted the normal guitar strings with 6 rubber bands. The music is in fact kind of elastic, continuosly bouncing from note to note. The drummer never plays the same rhythm for more than 1 or 2 seconds, he acts as a third instrument while he manage to keep a spastic, frenzy monster polythythm, in a manner very similar to Ari, drummer in Cause for Effect.

I pondered a lot before giving five stars, but I think that a radical and so maniacally compulsive event like this album deserves it. This is, in my opinion, a product who belongs to the class of Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, or Red Krayola's Parable of Arable Land, or US Maple's Talker: records who pushed the music out of even the most daring paradigms, and as a true lover of any progressive expression I consider this is the first mission of the genre. This is a point of no return, and I'm so displeased for people who are too mainstream-minded (the famous WalMart-Proggers) to appreciate this astonishingly lucid Masterpiece.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Pnoom!

4 stars Rating: B

The phrase "off the wall" takes on a new meaning when applied to the modern band Yowie. They only have one release so far, the short (under thirty minutes total) Cryptooology, but what a release it is. As one review I read said, it almost feels like the zanier moments of Captain Beefheart played about a hundred times as fast. I'm not sure about the Beefheart connection, since this is nowhere near the free rock of the Captain (at least, not in spirit; there's no way this album could sound improvised), but if this album is anything, it is zany and fast. And, of course, it's also very good.

This is an album that will take a while to grow on you, however, as it has an emotional content level of zero, if not well into the negative range. It also has no hooks (or, if it does, they blow by you before you can recognize them). In short, this is an album that will, at least at first, alienate most listeners. Some have said that this album is pointless, and it's not hard to see why, as this album doesn't have much of a point, except to play really technical (and yet still fun) music at very high speeds.

What this ends up meaning for the album is that it sounds like pointless noodling the first few listens. I love the album now, but when I first heard it, I had two reactions. First, I wondered what just happened, and second, I wondered what the point of the album was (just like many others). After more careful listens, I have begun to understand what's going on (at least, most of the time), and I really like what I'm hearing.

The band is named after the Australian version of what you may know as the Yeti (there's another great American avant-garde band who does by the name Yeti), and their music reflects that (as does the cover art, which depicts an epic battle between two monsters). Yowie takes no prisoners. They are primal, brutal, but not unintelligent. In some sense, they are like the Nile crocodile (while we're on the subject of beasts), which is very intelligent - so intelligent, in fact, that it is capable of getting bored. In boredom, the crocodile will kill simply because it's something to do. So it with Yowie, in a sense. Out of boredom, they started tearing up their instruments, and Cryptooology is the result.

In these thirty minutes, Yowie rampage through about 100 minutes worth of ideas, every one of them worth hearing. In fact, the only part of this album that bothers me is the last section of it (which lasts about two minutes), where the band jump around a tad much for my taste. In this section, they lose the great continuity of the rest of the album. The rest of the album, however, nears perfection, at least for what it is. The drumming is simply (as if) divine, and the guitar, which is the other dominant instrument, also is amazing. There is a bit of a sense of sameness across the album, but this is not prominent enough to bother me, especially since the music is so complex that I'm too busy working out what's happening to bother with such a trivial matter (in fact, I might even go so far as to say that this sameness keeps the album within the range of being comprehensible at all).

This album is certainly not for everyone, but if you like Captain Beefheart, technical music, and fast (NOT loud) music, this may just be what you're looking for. Prepare for an intense experience, and don't expect to like it from the first listen. If you approach it with an open mind and genuinely appreciate avant-garde music, as well as what I listed at the start of this paragraph, this may become one of your favorite modern albums. It certainly has become one of mine.

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

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Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by fungusucantkill

4 stars Warning aquired taste.

Thtas pretty much what should have been on the fron tcover of this album. Its Sparatic Math rock, broken guitar sounding Avant Garde music is one to scare, and....annoy possibly. Personally if you are a fan of Math Rock and just plain outright wakyness in instrument playing...this IS the album. They cetrainly do an excellent job in uphoalding the odd quirky view of Avant Garde. You like crazy...we got it. 4 stars

 Cryptooology by YOWIE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.23 | 20 ratings

BUY
Cryptooology
Yowie RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by FruMp
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is utter chaos, it takes math rock up to a whole new level, it's almost impenetrable cacophanous noise - make no mistake this is certainly not for the faint of heart or the weak of will, there is barely a tangible riff or recurring sequence to hold on to and when one does come along it get's quickly obliterrated by jazz blasting and discordant mess.

I actually quite enjoy this album to be honest, I find it hilarious, it's so silly, I just picture a bunch of nerdy math rock fans who became good at their instruments (the drumming is actually really good if you listen well) with severe ADHD cranking out this monstosity in their garage and then I look at the cover with a yowie beast battling some kind of pteradactyl like fiend to the death, the music almost invokes the same kind of aesthetic from the cartoon show 'rocko's modern life' from my childhood only perverted beyond recognition.

I don't really know what I think of this album to be honest, it is certainly a joke and to me it's a funny one, it's very hard to recommend this though, I can only stomach a few tracks a week - it's tougher to digest than a lot of grindcore and brutal detah metal but when I'm in the mood for utter chaos and silliness it suits perfectly.

You know what I'm going to give this 4 stars, it's extremely ambitious and it does entertain if you are open to it and that's all you could really ask of it. I'd recommend this only to the very adventurous and open minded.

Thanks to Black Velvet for the artist addition.

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