Hyrrokkin – Astrionics (EP, 2011)

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Hyrrokkin, which is named after one of Saturn’s moons, is a band that didn’t exist nine months ago but came together quickly and late last summer, produced an EP on cassette and CDR’s as they went a-touring across across North America. Astrionics, as this initial set of recordings is called, introduces Hyrrokkin as an adventurous band specializing in experimental rock. A synthesis of the Dayton, OH prog-punk band Kuan (Paul Larkowski, guitar/bass; Brett Nagafuchi, drums) and Matta Gawa’s guitarist Edward Ricart, Hyrrokkin seems to split the difference between the two, a sort of raw, punk-ish rock-jazz that often shares the same strains and sonic aggression as the early version of Tony Williams’ Lifetime.

Ricart, by the way, steers clear of the pedals and other effects that has defined the wonderfully weird sound of Matta Gawa (except for the brief ending track “Cations”), sticking with simply a heavily amped axe. In spite of constantly shifting riffs and tempo changes, this ain’t no math rock. Like Matta Gawa, it’s loose and often unpredictable, but unlike Ricart’s other band, it’s easier to adapt to on the first listen. “Sephfus” (video of live performance below) is the hardest charging track of the bunch, while “Cosmic Influencer” thrives on a bass driven groove. Larkowski and Ricart show great rapport around heavy guitar progressions built on circular bass patterns for “Super Agonist” and “HAARP.” Since both these guys often play so percussively, Nagafuchi exploits this by using his drums to amplify the percussion and shows a great deal of discipline playing with precision in such a raucous situation.

Hyrrokkin has plans to record a full album the first part of this year. Astrionics was released last September 11 by New Atlantis Records.

Purchase Hyrrokkin – Astrionics: cassette or download.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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