EPK – Yawn – Materialism (2022)
For fans of Meshuggah, Car Bomb, Vildhjarta, Gojira, Tool
“«Materialism» reflects the band’s vision of bringing improvisation-based music to the fore in the context of modern concert production. The album features beautiful improvised soundscapes combined with aesthetics drawn from hard-hitting modern progressive metal bands. Yawn’s debut album takes you on a 37-minute musical journey, giving you the best representation of the band’s aesthetic and musical visions.” – Yawn
Release Date: February 18, 2022
Label: Mindsweeper Records
“Yawn, anything but a bore” – Heavymetal.no
“Right out of the gates Yawn makes an amazing impression” – The Progressive Subway
“2022 is just starting and some incredible stuff has been released already. For example, “Materialism” – the debut album of the Norwegian experimental band YAWN. Don’t get fooled by the name, their music is anything but yawn-worthy…. “Materialism” kept me on my toes from start to finish. I always admire interesting and avant-garde, but well-balanced approaches to metal like this. This album is another reminder how heavy music doesn’t have to be just blast-beats and growls to make your stomach turn. 9/10” – The Prog Space
“these newcomers, who deliver their first album here, have created a universe of their own… Yawn brilliantly takes up the challenge of playing complex and avant-garde music while remaining affordable for the greatest number. The striking themes, the effectiveness of the riffs and a clever mix of alternating atmospheres have a lot to do with it. The brevity of the disc (37 minutes) also contributes to the fact that it is quickly apprehended. Norway definitely does not stop supplying us with remarkable talents and we are impatiently awaiting the next creations of these five inspired musicians.” – Chromatique
“That Materialism is self-produced — McCormick, Lysne and Rydh are credited as recording, while Tom “Iggy” Ignatus mastered — only underscores the self-determination on the part of Yawn, who’ve apparently spent the last several years putting these pieces together. Their time has not been misspent. Materialism is ambitious as noted, but refuses to leave any of its ambitions unmet, and the surety of what Yawn bring to bear throughout is luminescent, sometimes to a strobing degree. May they continue the exploration of their own wavelength that they’re beginning here.” – The Obelisk
“this is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard… if you want a listening experience that is as expansive as it is inventive, as visceral as it is technical and as savage as it is drop-dead gorgeous, then by fuck do we have the band for you. 10/10” – Ever Metal
“It’s really inspiring to see a band come up with such a unique approach to music and fuse such different elements and sounds. We’re intrigued by the unique concept that Yawn have come up with and excited to hear what’s coming our way on their debut album. We’re pretty certain you’re in for a treat” – Gig Radar
“It’s a demanding album, bulkier, heavier, more difficult than plywood, but equally interesting.” – Stormbringer
“Debut album of this group that brings very experimental music. The tonality is modern – you can even risk that it is djenty – but in its essence it is an exercise between jazz fusion with progressive.” – World of Metal
L-R – Mike McCormick – Guitar/Electronics, Simen Wie – Bass, Tarjei Kjerland Lienig – Synthesizer, Torfinn Lysne – Guitar, Oskar Johnsen Rydh – Drums
(Photographer Credit: Emil Vestre)
As 2022 begins, Yawn stands at the ready with their first full length release: “Materialism.” The album reflects the band’s vision of bringing improvisation-based music to the fore in the context of modern concert production. The album features beautiful improvised soundscapes combined with aesthetics drawn from modern progressive metal bands like Meshuggah, Car Bomb, and Vildhjarta. Yawn’s live performances have been described as a magical experience where improvised, open, and formless soundscapes seamlessly transform into and away from machine-precise rhythms, all without warning from the performers on stage.
Since the band’s debut in 2020, Yawn has released their first single “Cement,” toured across southern Norway, and played for 15000 housebound viewers during a streaming concert from Chateau Neuf in Oslo shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic reached Norway.
After the release of Materialism on February 18th, 2022, the band will embark on a European release tour from February 25th to March 9th.
2020: Cement – Single
2022: Materialism – Album
Shared Stage with:
Navian, Next Life, Musth.
Tours and Festivals:
2020 – Serendip festival (Oslo)
2020 – Brakkesyke (Digital festival during covid. Audience: 15 000)
2020 – Yawn cement (single), release-tour (Norway)
2020 – Jazzfest Digel (Oslo)
2022 – Materialism – release tour (EU/UK, two weeks)
Band Storys / Fun Facts:
1. During a concert, performing “Lachrymator II: Lignite” our bass player Simen broke not only one, but two of his bass strings during the intro. He pulled off the rest of the show using the two remaining strings, and he played great! After the show, people have referenced this part of the show as some sort of “performance art” -thing, and people have asked us if he broke the strings intentionally.2. All of our recordings are DIY (Except for mastering). Every sound on this record is recorded by ourselves in our own studio, the production is a collaboration between Oskar, Torfinn and Mike and the mix is done entirely by our drummer Oskar.
3. Back in 2019 forming the band, we planned on having a saxophone player in the band.
4. One time playing a show in the southern part of Norway (Kristiansand), Tarjei walked off stage during his and Mike’s impro-duet, leaving the musical landscape to be filled by Mike alone without telling him in advance.
5. Only two minutes and one second of this record contains written-down chord changes.
Release Date: February 18, 2022
Label: Mindsweeper Records
1. Cement III : Gobsmack (2:35)
2. Cement III : Fall Out (1:50)
3. Cement III : Restart, Reload, Rebuild (3:35)
4. Chaos I : Artificial Superstition (2:34)
5. Chaos I : Greed (1:51)
6. Chaos I : ISM (3:21)
7. Chaos I : Untelligence (1:26)
8. Chaos I : Order (0:40)
9. Lachrymator II : Lignite (2:28)
10. Lachrymator II : Erebus & Terror (2:33)
11. Lachrymator II : Tripwire (2:36)
12. Lachrymator II : Unstoppable force (1:57)
13. Tokamak IV : Immovable Object (2:45)
14. Tokamak IV : Critical Mass (1:21)
15. Tokamak IV : Fluorescence & Entropy (3:48)
16. Tokamak IV : Confluence (2:03)
Album Length: 37:31
• All songs performed by: Yawn
• All songs written by: Yawn
• Produced by: Torfinn Lysne, Oskar Johnsen Rydh & Mike McCormick
• Mixed by: Oskar Johnsen Rydh
• Mastered by: Tom “Iggy” Ignatius
• Album Artwork by: Arne Martin Nybo (Painting), Torfinn Lysne (Design).Album and Live Band Line Up:Torfinn Lysne – Guitar
Oskar Johnsen Rydh – Drums
Mike McCormick – Guitar/Electronics
Simen Wie – Bass
Tarjei Kjerland Lienig – Synthesizer
Track by Track explained by Yawn:
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 are 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 like being stormed by millions 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 “capitalism”) 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 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 is 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 albums 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 a 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 Lachrymator’s 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 to 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 both 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 they can cause earthquakes. We want to thank the listener for staying with us all through this record with one last bulldozer of a track.