MISZCZYK - Thyrsis of Etna Music Album Reviews

MISZCZYK - Thyrsis of Etna Music Album Reviews
The Ontario producer turns to a deep bench of guests—Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Pylon’s Vanessa Briscoe Hay—for a debut album steeped in krautrock’s murky throb.

Thyrsis of Etna is Nyles Miszczyk’s debut album, but the Ontario producer has been working behind the scenes for more than a decade, producing leftfield hip-hop and retro new wave and working as the in-house engineer at Toronto’s Royal Mountain Records, where Alvvays got their start. Miszczyk brings a producer’s mentality to his album: All 16 tracks feature a different singer. These guests range from indie heroes Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab and Vanessa Briscoe Hay of Pylon to fellow Toronto artists and labelmates and even a Nigerian rapper, Nai. But he ties it all together with a cohesive sound informed by krautrock’s motorik thump and sparkling melodies.

The majority of these tracks are short—only one of them breaches the three-minute mark—which, compounded with Miszczyk’s insistent rhythms, gives the album plenty of thrust and flow. Between Laetitia Sadier’s dulcet voice and the song’s propulsive bassline, opener “In the Dark” feels like a lost cut from Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, while the dirge-like “Runaway, I Age” offers a meditative respite before the nervous arpeggios and relentless groove of “The Garden.” Miszczyk covers plenty of territory, from the synth-punk thriller “Immediate Needs,” with its echo of Suicide, to the jangly indie pop of “Lunar Days,” yet they slot together like puzzle pieces.

But the uniformity of the album’s palette—track after track swims in buzzing organs and analog delay—turns stale in album’s the second half. The warbly voice of Colin Lloyd Tucker, who once sang with the Go-Betweens and Kate Bush, disappears into the murk of “New for Old.” And while “On Zuma Beach” hints at the intimacy of a Radiohead demo—singer Corey Hernden even sounds like Thom Yorke—the song’s muted bass feels curiously noncommittal, as if it couldn’t be coaxed out of the shadows.

Given the album’s revolving door of singers, Thyrsis of Etna plays a little like a hip-hop producer’s beat tape. And while his guest vocalists don’t always make the most illuminating guides to Miszczyk’s maze-like terrain—a jumble of non-sequiturs and disconnected images, the lyrics on many songs feel like placeholders for more engaging songwriting—their voices lend texture to his gravelly analog synths, tape-warped effects, and hazy psychedelia, rounding out his retro-futurist universal with a crucial sense of human presence.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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MISZCZYK - Thyrsis of Etna Music Album Reviews MISZCZYK - Thyrsis of Etna Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 25, 2022 Rating: 5


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