Hyrrokkin – Astrionics

Avant-rock power trio Hyrrokkin provide a jazz-inspired brand of math-rock that will certainly appeal to long-time fans of the instrumental genre, while simultaneously enticing younger audiences with its freer forms and wider spectrum of influences.  And the group’s not short on talent to pull off their dense sensibilities, featuring Brett Nagafuchi (drums) and Paul Larkowski (guitar, bass) of Kuan and Edward Ricart (guitar, bass) of Matta Gawa.

On their latest cassette, entitled Astrionics, there is no lack of experimentation nor of venture toward new territory for instrumental rock, however the complex rhythms and guitar-driven traditional styles a-la-Don-Caballero are all present.  It’s important to understand that this is a good thing, and the band serves the tradition well while introducing their own unique spin on expressionistic rock.  Dynamism is a word tossed about quite often, especially in the discussion of vocal-absent genres, but it is the dynamism of Astrionics that truly sets it apart.  While a trend is progressing for instrumental acts to be more grounded in improvisation, Hyrrokkin take full advantage of composition’s potential with synchronized shifts in motion and intensity, never relying on over-escalation to compensate for a lack of musical substance, as may be the fault of some of their more kinematic peers.  Ultimately, the choreographed mechanics of the record work in its favor, with plenty of artistry shining through its structuralism.

Astrionics is one of the first releases by the new New Atlantis label, which began as a sublabel to Jason Ajemian’s own Sundmagi.  The label’s first round of releases last year are making New Atlantis look incredibly promising, and we can’t wait to see what else they produce this year.


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