Strictly speaking, you’d be hard pressed to identify a sub-genre that’s harder or more complicated to review. All styles and mannerisms have their own challenges, whether those be intricate vocal lines, absurdly lo-fi production or expansive, mind-bending track lengths. However, within these irregularities, one might perhaps do well to leave a place of honor for instrumental music. Something about the lack of vocals denies the reviewer, and the listener, a focal point, an anchoring which is essential to grasp location within music.
And yet, of course, instrumental music can be amazing; there’s a wild freedom to it, a conviction that’s hard to resist. So too with Sioum, a name that has been on the lips of blog members for a long time but has yet to properly grace the pages of its digital manifestation. Well, no more. Yet Further is their next offering and if any justice exists in this god-forsaken abyss we call a planet, this will be the one that finally balances their levels of skill with their levels of recognition.
Remember that term, “wild freedom”, from just a few lines ago? That is Yet Further inside and out, the whole and the sum, the chalice of understanding. There’s something impossibly free on this album. On one end, it is motivated by post/math rock akin to The Samuel Jackson Five. Riffs with a spring in their step convey a fierce dedication to groove. But on the other you can find chunky, oil-drenched synths and bass, a bedrock of vibration, hum and reaction-strength energy.
The aptly named second track, “Welcome to New Beginnings” is our departure point to grasp this vitriolic concoction, the middle ground where all things live and grow. What starts off as a riff that might be familiar to fans of the aforementioned rock genre quickly escalates into a celebration of odd time signatures when the drums kick. But what in god’s name is that vibration beneath everything? That’s bass my friends. Listen how it dives in and out of the riff, supposedly fulfilling the normal, offsetting characteristic that bass sometimes serves. Feel your neck automatically respond as synths are overlaid atop of it but still just below the guitars, leaving them a haunting of the main lines of the track.
Finally, when the bass/synths deem it to be time, everything comes together in a middle part that is pure, controlled chaos and fertile experimentation. While what follows is a bit more tamed, you’d be mistaken if you wrote it off as “simple”. More guitar lines are added into the mix, with some stick tricks and clever cymbal use from the drum kit, turning the center of the track into a broiling, menacing maelstrom. Violins are then introduced as we prepare for the track’s ending, ushering in the inevitable yet oddly quiet, outro and culmination.
This more restrained ending hints at the post rock tendencies that are found further down the line, tempering the hot steel of these opening passages in cool, flowing waters. Plenty of ambiance is to be found, with tremolo picks and all the usual trappings but they’re made somehow more by the expectation, by the feeling that they only survey the triumphant return of all that we had already heard on “Welcome to New Beginnings”.
It all comes back to the beginning, in the end, but along the way you feel as if you’ve viewed a landscape from multiple vantage points, intimately knowing it from multiple facets and in multiple ways. And you know what? I’m only going to mention that one track. If you’re intrigued, then the rabbit’s hole is open wide and you need only hit play to get sucked in deeper. Take the elements from above, add masterful variations across key points in the album’s progression, and you have Yet Further: a chemical marriage between groove, structure, fuzz and treble. Fall into it at your own discretion; you won’t be coming up for air soon.
Sioum’s Yet Further gets…