Track By Tracks: YAWN - Materialism (2022)

1. Cement III: Gobsmack:

This song was clearly our strongest opener for the album. It represents the feeling of getting caught by surprise, smacked in the face out of nowhere, getting something really different than what you expected, and keep rolling with that.

2. Cement III: Fall Out:

Fall out is the part where the song Cement all of a sudden takes a turn and goes into a way different musical landscape than what you would expect. This is a dramatic turn of events very early in the record, and it really gives you a taste of the contrasts this record has to offer. The song sounds like a dream where you don’t know if it’s going to end well or turn into your worst nightmare.

3. Cement III: Restart, Reload, Rebuild:

You wake up from the dream. “Brace for impact”. After a minute of heavy 8-string riffing, the first guitar solo of the record is being introduced. Being performed by guitar-player Torfinn Lysne, this solo sets the course for the playful polyrhythmic phrasing heard throughout the record. With a tonal language inspired by Meshuggah’s Frederik Thordendal and a guitar sound heavily inspired by the crazy effects of Car Bomb’s Greg Kubacki, Torfinn shows you his best work as a soloist already at track number three. The track also is the ending part of the piece called “Cement”.

4. Chaos I: Artificial Superstition:

Artificial Superstition is the first piece of the record based entirely on computer-generated sounds. All sounds heard in this track is created by processing tracks from other parts of the record - improvised ambiance becomes a drone, a drum fill becomes a grinding texture, and a guitar riff becomes a steampunk sound effect. The piece is composed and performed by guitarist and programmer Mike McCormick, setting a high bar for the electronic soundscapes of this record.

5. Chaos I: Greed:

“Greed” is a continuing of the exciting electronic works of Mike McCormick, combined with heavy polyrhythmic riffing from Torfinn and Oskar. The opening soundscape is described by drummer Oskar as being stormed by millions of creatures coming after you. The music stops, and the main riff hits you. 10 000 tons of eight-string guitars combined with Tarjei’s stacked synths performing polyrhythmic sequences and unconventional melodies, displays Yawn’s raw aggression and the search for “something different”.

6. Chaos I: ISM:

“ISM” (or “capital ism”) was one of the first parts of this record that we ever recorded. The Piece is based on a collective improvisation we did in the studio during the covid-summer of 2020. ISM features Mike’s digital processing of the instruments as its own participant in the collective improvisation. The song is mostly about building tension and letting go of traditional musical roles. This last part can very much be heard in the way the guitar is playing a repetitive “groove” while the drums are going in and out of time, playing phrases almost like a melodic improviser on top of the rhythm. The tension grows, and you reach the breaking point. The ending of the track represents the feeling of going over and over, trying to figure out a way to move forward but only ending up back to the start again and again, and slowly moving towards insanity. As the aggression builds, the tension can be heard in the music.

7. Chaos I: Untelligence:

The walls are collapsing. You are way past the breaking point, and from here you can just hang on and keep going in the new directions you are constantly getting thrown into. The second part takes you back to the opening riff, but the rhythm has changed. This time more like desperate breathing for air, or holding on to a moving train at full speed. The track is building and building the intensity towards the end, and the final hit marks the ending of the first half of “Materialism”.

8. Chaos I: Order:

“Order” is the section dividing the pieces “Chaos” and “Lachrymator”. The track is written and performed by Mike McCormick and represents an indexing of our toolbox: a quick scan revealing the refined sound design of contemporary electroacoustic music alongside the brutality of harsh noise and grindcore aesthetics.

9. Lachrymator II : Lignite:

Lignite is the first section of the piece called Lachrymator. This song is best known among our fans as the part of the show where Simen goes into insane mode, smashing a drumstick onto his bass strings like it’s literally the end of the world. The first time he did this during rehearsal, it blew us all away. No distortion or overdrive effect could ever come close to the raw aggressiveness of the sound coming out of his amplifier, while hitting the strings in this way. When we recorded the track, we even changed the drumstick for a screwdriver. The way that bass guitar grinds along with our two guitars in the opening are exactly the pure aggressive energy and rawness we seek in our heavy sound.

10. Lachrymator II : Erebus & Terror:

“Erebus & Terror” takes the listener into a new section of open improvisation. This part is put together from live recordings of improvisations from the tour we did after the first release of Cement in the fall of 2020. Little did we know that we were actually recording our new record performing this piece of collective improvisation as a part of our live set for this tour. The piece is based on a dynamic duo-performance of Mike McCormick and Tarjei Lienig, and when this piece is being performed live the rest of the band goes off stage, leaving this communicative moment between the two musicians, performing synthesizer and live electronics.

11.Lachrymator II: Tripwire:

A new direction in the soundscapes of the record. Introducing the album's second guitar solo performed by Mike, accompanied by the playful bassist Simen Wie. This section presents the band’s roots in various Jazz-traditions as well as a unique soundscape. The guitar solo weaves a melodic narrative across the irregular form, linking notes and rhythms like the rhyming couplets of a poem.

12. Lachrymator II ¡: Unstoppable force:

You wake up from a dream, and immediately being overwhelmed by stress, panic, and anxiety. The track starts off with a repetitive rhythmic pattern, building tension. The hard-hitting rhythmic playing keeps going by Torfinn, Oskar, and Simen, while the first section of Lachrymator’s melody comes back with restored new energy in a panicked fashion, performed by Mike and Tarjei. Eventually, the tension is released, and we get the massive sound of Yawn chugging slower and slower, moving towards the end of the world in an unsymmetrical rhythmical loop, almost like its “lagging”.

13. Tokamak IV : Immovable Object:

The last hit-off Lachrymators ending starts off the first section of the new piece called Tokamak, giving you the unique sound designs of Oskar Johnsen Rydh, combined with the lingering growl of Torfinn Lysne’s 8-string guitar. the piece starts off with a dramatic effect, building curiosity about what is to come. A clock is being introduced, but there is something off about it. It's uneven in time, and it's making its way into a rhythmical pattern. Slowly the piece builds, creating a soundscape reminding you of the first glimpse of the sun after a storm, leaving the question: “what comes now?”

14.Tokamak IV : Critical Mass:

Critical Mass is the second part of the piece titled Tokamak. The track is mostly based on a repetitive guitar phrase going over and over, printing itself in your memory whether you want it or not. The melody was based on a simple conversation between Oskar and Torfinn: “Why do we limit our tonal language to the chromatic scale, dividing notes only down to the semitones? Why not dive into the world of quartertones?” A few guitar-tunings later, we ended up with this simple, but catchy melody going on and on in both our heads, the following week. The melody continues on throughout the piece called “Tokamak”.

15.Tokamak IV : Fluorescence & Entropy:

Fluorescence & Entropy is the longest track of this record. Presenting yet another unique soundscape, this track is actually something you can dance to! Yawn’s drummer Oskar really brings the groove on this one. Being all kinds of weird in the terms of harmony, melody, tonality, and rhythm this track still possesses a catchy and playful character. The track ends with an improvised soundscape slowly removing instrument after instrument. At the end of the track, Mike is the only one left, performing a soundscape of microtonal guitar chords in an atmospheric manner.

16.Tokamak IV : Confluence:

You thought we were done? Yawn saves the most brutal for last! Tuning the eight-string guitars down to the C# and kicking in the ring-modulator, Confluence is the perfect ending to the musical journey through this record. Smashing through polyrhythmic patterns, giving you riffs tuned so low that it can cause earthquakes. We want to thank the listener for staying with us all through this record with one last bulldozer of a track.

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