BYLA - Byla

Byla - Byla

11 songs
48:41 minutes
***** ****
Translation Loss


Beware! This is not music for everyone's taste. But then which music really is? What's intriguing about Byla is that the band consists of two thirds of American instrumental math metal kings Dysrhythmia. We're talking about Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston who only recently joined Dysrhytmia on the bass guitar, but is also well known as insane guitarist of über-proggers Behold The Arctopus (compared to whom WatchTower sound like three chord punks) and avant-industrialists Infidel?/Castro!

Two such people, who have worked together so often, have to have a reciprocal understanding. If you expect now another mathy metal wild ride, you might be disappointed, because Byla is their output for more ambient ideas. But then this self-titled album is much different from your generic bedroom recorded laptop album. As should be the case with two guitarists, this is mostly a guitars only album, but done in such a splendid way, with lots of layers of distortions, that you will forget soon that there are actually no other instruments.

It's the lack of drums which makes this the ideal album for drifting off to sleep after a hard day at work, although the music is never boring. At its best moments, acoustic or undistorted guitars build up a melody, just to drown in mellow guitar noise, reminding of the wickedest times of My Bloody Valentiny. The label compares the CD to GYBE!, Sigur Ros, Robert Rich and Vidna Obmana, inasmuch as you can put Byla somewhere between the epic post rock proportions of the former two and the experimental ambient soundscapes of the latter two. I also felt positively reminded of the mid-Seventies collaborations between Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, also music where guitars were treated to unknown dimensions.

Byla mostly contains small pieces, although the three long pieces (Lake Opulia, The Last To Leave and Stare At The Horizon, recorded by one Pete Rydberg in 1998, but strangely fitting the overall mood of the album) take up 60% of the playing time. It's these long songs that are the most hypnotic, but generally the album works fabulously except for the three first songs (together not even running for five minutes) that seem to meander and stall before finding the actual atmosphere. But once we're headed in the fourth track Closer To The Center, we are rewarded with beautiful, dreamy ambient guitar music that is an interesting contrast to the two musicians' more metallic bands.

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