I always have to remember that I’m really lucky to be able to see shows in Pittsburgh because we end up booking (much of it thanks to Manny) a lot of experimental bands that don’t normally get exposed. Lymbyc Systym are one of those bands that really caught me by surprise. I heard they were playing Garfield Artworks in March, but brushed off doing a show preview because I couldn’t find any good recordings of their stuff. Everything sounded pretty muffled and left me inconclusive. When I saw them on May 8th, I definitely left the venue with a bottom-line: something this loud and beautiful can only push you to the edge.
Unlike the other tour dates they were doing with Her Space Holiday and Head Like a Kite, this time Lymbyc Systym headlined and played with two arrhythmic jazz bands. After the suspense that Locksmith Isadore pushed the crowd into, seeing Lymbyc Systym play was a sort of catharsis; Jared Bell’s soft but strong chords built the romping grounds for the waterfall of drumming implemented by his brother, Mike. Both musicians really weaved a diverse range of sounds–Jared with his trio of keyboards (a clavinet, nord lead, and a microkorg) and Mike controlling the loops and samples via laptop, with occasional bells and some xylaphone, in addition to his fierce drumming. One of the reasons why I’ve been fascinated with instrumental music came up particularly during the Lymbyc Systym show–how is it that just two guys can create such a responsive environment without even any vocals? Obviously I’m a fan of the primary melodies instituted by vocals, but the traveling method of pure instrumentation also has a pull as well in that it offers many different paths to journey on through the music rather than just leading you through one, giving you the hook, throwing in the bridge, then ending the song. Especially in songs like “Idle Wires” from Love Your Abuser, when the song ends, there is still an aura lingering about from all the resonating layers of sound.
I don’t want to go into a tangent, but it is exactly this facet of music Lymbyc Systym have integrated into their work which is missing from a lot of stuff I hear these days: the poetry. How many songs have you heard where the vocals are just the same thing every time? And I don’t mean in a genre–in well-crafted lyrics, you should be able to listen to it again and again and hear a different inflection or meaning every time and not have it be so literal. I mean, the beauty of language really lies in its various methods of expressiveness, so if you can’t work it, don’t use it. /end public service announcement.
At the end of the show, Jared was kind enough to give me a copy of Love Your Abuser which I hadn’t had the chance to hear prior to the show. Although it’s not as energetic as their live performance (this is inevitable), there is a pulsing quietude that continues throughout the loud and eerie hills of the album and buries itself in the interstices of the beats. Each one possesses a different story at its heart. Track 3, “Astrology Days” has a Beirut tinge to it while “Pittsburgh Left” reminds me of old Final Fantasy BGM’s. The stylings really remind me of Mojib, with the main difference being that Mojib is a DJ. Here are two of my favorite tracks, below. I know I should probably post “Pittsburgh Left” just cause, but you know, you could always just buy the album.