You can count on it: As pop songs become more packaged, calculated and removed from the artists associated with said music, an opposite, mostly instrumental genre will emerge that challenges the listener and appeals to an elitist few. It could be the jazz fusion of the late '60s, the prog-rock of the '70s or the minimalist and ambient music of the '80s and '90s.
Lymbyc Systym and This Will Destroy You, two instrumental groups that incorporate several elements of those genres, visited Solar Culture on Wednesday, Feb. 27, though the resulting sound of each was vastly different.
This Will Destroy You, of San Marcos, Texas, has the typical rock-band setup of guitar-bass-guitar-drums, but their music is anything but typical. Other than a keyboard on one tune, TWDY only needed a few effects pedals and an EBow to create their epic numbers. Similar to other post-rock acts such as Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, TWDY's songs could be used as background music to a Nova documentary on volcanoes: slow, menacing layers of distorted guitars and percussive rumblings, climaxing with an explosive wall-of-noise crescendo, all in a nice 8-minute package.
Yes, just 8 minutes--unlike Explosions and Mogwai, TWDY only need 8 minutes to blow your mind, as they demonstrated with their set's finale, "Burial on the Presidio Banks," off their latest release, This Will Destroy You.
Headliners Lymbyc Systym--a duo featuring brothers Michael and Jared Bell--are also vocal-free, but their laptop-driven electronic music is far more accessible. Sure, the songs can take up to a minute or more of delicate blips and fiddling to get started, but soon, a catchy little repetitive hook will drill into your brain, a sort of friendly musical lobotomy. The Brothers Bell use analog and digital keyboards, live drums, vibes and wind chimes to create their breezy pop, keeping everything sequenced with a mounted laptop.
As Lymbyc finished up with selections off the new Love Your Abuser Remixed, I made note of the younger, mostly male crowd. Were this the early-'80s, they'd have been at a Rush show. A few things have changed--an unkempt beard substitutes for a mullet, the knowing nod of the head is the new devil-horned-fist--but that elitist feeling they'll have at school the next day remains the same.