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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Lymbyc System’s Symbolyst defies classification to beautiful effect

Lymbyc System’s experimental style and craftsmanship shine through on its new album Symbolyst. Courtesy of Western Vinyl
Lymbyc System’s experimental style and craftsmanship shine through on its new album Symbolyst. Courtesy of Western Vinyl

By Kenney Kost / Managing Editor

Lymbyc System takes everything that makes them great and condenses it to create the sonic bliss that is Symbolyst.

The title itself speaks to the goal of the album and the band. A symbolist is a person who uses or can interpret symbols, especially as a means to reveal aspects of truth and reality, according to the dictionary.

Interpreting the sounds and tones on the album as symbols of sorts reveals the spiritual, almost supernatural nature of the album, evoking visions of ethereal worlds tucked away just beyond our human grasp.

This is crucial to the album’s meaning since no lyrics accompany the compositions. Structure reveals itself during the first listen and gives way to new emotions and ever-expanding structure and form with each consecutive listen.

Brothers Michael and Jared Bell have been blurring genre lines since their 2005 debut EP Carved By Glaciers. Mixing elements of rock, jazz and post-punk and using hip-hop and R&B the way a cook uses fine wine — not enough to overpower the taste but just enough to bring the other flavors to life — Symbolyst displays the band’s unique sense of experimentation and composition.

The first track “Prairie Dogs” opens with a piano melody that is contrasted by a deep, dirty bass line. The melody and bass line remain throughout the entirety of the track while the percussion, flute and synthesizers weave sound and form into the piece. The melody is interspersed with counter-melodies that overtake the main melody, at times, taking the song in entirely new, yet slightly familiar directions.

“Downtime” showcases the band’s progressive style to a tee. The track begins with a simple chord progression with some light percussion work behind it and then builds up to the main melody adding extra percussion and keys to the mix until everything drops out and the bass hits alongside the ascending melody and back down again. The percussion is on a slow build throughout the entire track, and by the end, it is an intricate mass of drums and cymbals driving the track to conclusion.

“Nightfall” may be the best of the album. An eerie guitar melody and a bossa nova beat make up the meat of the track with spiraling keys and guitars intertwining through a low-rumbling bass line to move the song from its high and low points. The sections repeat themselves four times, but each time through, they add a new element, giving new life to the melody before dismantling it and building it back up again.

The first five tracks are built around melodic movement. The last five tracks are the exact opposite, focusing more on the minimalist side of sound with percussion and rhythm moving the tracks.

The violins and piano on “Wave” are a prime example of this. The glitch percussion and bass keep the song going, rarely changing form. The keys, guitars and violins work off of each other and slowly build to an incredible crescendo of sound and color, building on what was already there until the final glitch marks the end of the track.

Even without words, Lymbyc System gets its message across in a very poignant way — to be yourself in whatever it is you do and find beauty in the simple as well as the complex.

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