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BULLANT Tyson, Crying gets 7/10


Bullant

Tyson, Crying
Flightless

7/10

Bullant is the moniker for King Gizzard guitar/key/vocal man Joey Walker’s solo foray into electronica, and his initial release Tyson, Crying shares all the off-the-cuff charm one would expect from a Gizzard side project.

One of the strongest points about the Gizz is their flawless assimilation of influences. Whether it be psych, prog, boogie, metal, or all points in between, the band simply ‘gets’ every genre it’s emulating without fail. Here is no exception, with Walker showing he obviously has a soft spot for techno and nailing all of its tropes across an array of dark churning grooves. Walker claims that he made this all in cracked Ableton software, with limitations meaning he “couldn’t save any sessions out which forced [him] to finish each track on the spot”. This is very impressive if true, as the record’s strength is in how its tracks manage to both groove and progress across a relatively short timespan (for techno, anyway). This eclecticism is both a blessing and a curse. These tracks have more about-turns than most club records you’ll hear, but also less breathing room.

Opener VIEWBANK is the strongest of the lot. Peaceful synths give way to mechanical and piston-like clanging kicks as an array of disembodied vocals, distorted handclaps and jarring industrial noises build. The track then gives way to an ascending guitar line that sounds like nothing you’ll hear on a techno record. It’s a track that highlights all of Bullant’s potential, showcasing an ear for progression and unique sounds, all in the time it takes some dance tracks to just start warming up.

The rest of the tracks never quite scale those heights but are generally solid. XHamster Invoice boasts some evil-sounding sequencers, but its distorted handclaps and swirling synths are a bit derivative of what came already. Paris Phill 1967 is a thumper which could’ve used a more panel-rattling kick sound, but the vibrating air raid siren of a synth that permeates through the whole thing is a great touch. The piece takes an interesting rhythmic turn in its second half with some tropical percussion. Enough Rope with Andrew Denton is the most traditional piece on here, a great track that builds off muffled kicks, skittering synth and weird flute interludes.

The remaining tracks all have good moments but are decidedly failed experiments. Inexplicable single The Simpsons Suck Now has a cool core sound as it gradually devolves into a dirge of accordion-like synthesisers, but then it switches to a dull pulsating rhythm that overstays its welcome. Greb Greb Greb is a stab at dark minimal techno but its clattering timpani drums are too high in the mix and the beat doesn’t bear down with enough intensity to make it worthwhile. It’s also the worst purveyor of the album’s use of dynamics, switching from thumping beats to chirping synths for no real reason.

Overall, this isn’t an essential release but it’s also highly listenable, eclectic and fun. With a slightly more pared-back approach and a non-cracked version of Ableton, Bullant could prove a great electronic diversion from the largely guitar-driven Flightless Records stable.

MATIJA ZIVKOVIC

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