Thursday, June 15, 2023

catching up with Pylar

DoC friends Pylar represent a new paradigm in heavy music - one which challenges preconceptions of what "metal" is. For a decade, their avant compositions have stretching into the realms of jazz, neo-classical, and experimental music while still maintaining roots in extreme doom and black metal. The Spanish band are about to release their eighth album Límyte through Cavsas/Cyclic Law, concluding a trilogy they began in 2019. Guitarist Bar-gal was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Pylar was on the Dreams of Consciousness podcast in 2022, when your previous album Abysmos was about to be released. What have you been up to since then?

When ABYSMOS was released in March 2022, PYLAR was about to start recording LÍMYTE. The month of May 2022 was dedicated to the recording, mixing and mastering processes. After that we began to prepare the artwork for the album, and it was finished while we were looking for a label to edit the album.

Apart from the above, the most notable thing that happened during this period is that PYLAR has added a new member to its core, Mesagret, who will play bass and who is already actively contributing to the composition and development of new material. Right now we are immersed in the creation of the next two albums, establishing their objectives and clarifying the conceptual and aesthetic base that will determine the final result.

DoC: What can you tell me about Límyte? How long did it take for you to complete the album? What do you want people to experience while listening to it?

The writing process for LÍMYTE was very complex but satisfying. This album was the end of the trilogy that we started with HORROR CÓSMYCO in 2019 and continued with ABYSMOS in 2022. Throughout this trilogy we have tried to push our songwriting techniques to the limit to reach unexplored regions within extreme metal. To do this, we carried out a cartography of the bands that had carried experimentation further in their compositions. From them, we took all the tools that we could assimilate into the sound of PYLAR, which has been increasingly expanded as a result.

For example, from Deathspell Omega, Portal, Teitanblood, Gorguts, Blut aus Nord or Sumac, we take countless ideas to experiment with the internal structure of the riffs, dissonant harmonies, formal and structural elements, drum patterns, variety in the voices, etc. From bands like The Body, Swans, The Mars Volta or Aevangelist we took the idea of using the studio as a compositional tool and the importance of textures and instrumentation used to innovate at a timbre or equalization level. All this has been taken to the limit in the composition and recording of the album.

Most metal bands today have stopped "wanting", to use Deleuzian terminology; they don't set out to challenge the established order like the pioneers of the genre did. We want the listener to confront LÍMYTE and identify it as a desiring-machine, an artifact synthesized as a tool to break down borders, crack walls, go through them and face the unknown.

DoC: Where was the album recorded? What were the sessions like? What led you to work with CG Santos from Teitanblood, and what were his contributions to the album?

The album was recorded in La Mina by Raúl Pérez, who has been our studio technician and shadow member since the first album, with more and more weight in the decisions as he learned about the band's way of working.

The sessions in the studio were very fruitful. The production process has been more important than on any of our previous albums with a very open minded mentality when it comes to trying anything that would take us away from the patterns already exploited by so many other bands.

Lingua Alaudae, a member of PYLAR, knew and collaborated with CG Santos on other projects. I suggested he collaborate with PYLAR on our new album since we know and admire his work on Teitanblood and Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere. His involvement in the project went far beyond our expectations. It has been fascinating exchanging views with him and watching him work. We didn't want it to be a typical collaboration and we proposed certain experiments to him and he exceeded everything we had in mind. His composition was inoculated into our music as a hyperstitional element to open a crack towards the outside, the exterior and break with the linearity of time, curving time and traversing the record like a spectral presence that affects the consistency of the album itself.

DoC: It's common for Pylar to use a lot of unusual (for metal) instrumentation, like violins and horns. In addition to guitar/bass/drums, what instruments did you add to your sound on this album, and why did you choose these particular instruments? What are the challenges of adding these additional instruments, either in the writing or recording/mixing process?

From its origin as a band, in PYLAR we wanted to distinguish ourselves from the sounds practiced by the majority of bands within metal. We have used a wide variety of instruments that have responded to the compositional and narrative needs of each album. In addition, the textural element is essential for us since it is one of our main tools to innovate the final sound aesthetic. The density in the textural weft and the atmosphere is essential to push the listener to the limit, to make him stay alert, to exhaust him, so that he can feel what he may have felt when he first heard records like Cause of Death, Altars of Madness, A Blaze In The Northern Sky or Black Sabbath.

In this trilogy of albums we have been experimenting and using more and more synthesizers, as we seek that its infinite sound richness contributes to that feeling of estrangement that we have already talked about. To this we must add the experimentation in the voices that has also gone further and further on each album, looking for variety and fleeing from the sounds commonly used in extreme metal.

In the end, it's like having two bands playing simultaneously, which is how I like to think of PYLAR: The base-band of guitar, bass, drums and vocals (all modified in turn by using different pedals) at the same time that the rest of the textural instruments, violin, horn, mandolin, synthesizers, electronic percussion, etc., are literally added to it looking for combinations not yet explored.

DoC: We spoke about the influence of Lovecraftian horror, speculative fiction, and authors like Reza Negarestani on the previous installments of the trilogy. What can you tell me about the themes/lyrics of Límyte? Is there a narrative that ties all three albums together; and if so, how does Límyte conclude it?

Yes, there is a narrative that ties all three albums together. In the first chapter of the trilogy we expose the consequences of facing the human being with the limits of his existence of that extreme experience that is knowing that death is the last frontier. From there arises the cosmic horror, an atavistic and numinous feeling that forces us to create gods and their associated cosmogonies as a way of defending ourselves. Once the consciousness of the human being is faced with the idea of god and the possible infinity of his power, the mind contemplates the abyss of reality and the duality between the material and the ideal plane, which is where gods live.

Those who have dared to contemplate that abyss, to plunge into it, have fallen and descended through the greater depths until experiencing the profound past. There is the limit, the limit of human experience when you dare to contemplate the secrets of existence. There inhabit the Lovecraftians´ primordials. Lovecraft's work obsesses us and has determined both musically and conceptually this album's trilogy, its aesthetics and sensibility. Lovecraft, Spengler, Ligotti, Negarestani show you the consequences of cosmic horror when it penetrates your mind and their texts are totally embedded in the plot of our music.

As in the rest of the trilogy, Francisco Jota-Pérez (experimental writer and philosopher) provides most of the texts that, like music, uses techniques to build a discourse that flees from the ordinary, opening up multiple vectors that lead in a multitude of directions. His texts are an autonomous entity within the album that have been dissected, mutated and assembled in a way that affects the whole, contributing to that sensation of vertigo and disorientation that we intend to provoke in the listener. To this we must add that we once again use fragments of Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia, the infamous cult grimoire, authentic Necronomicon in this century.

The texts in union with the music are synthesized to create emergency patterns whose objective is to bring out an occult metal, a metal that has not yet been revealed, a metal that goes beyond... an ultra metal, a speculative metal. The music and the texts spread fog and storms of sand, dust and spores with insane intention... twisting occult techniques and dark arts, not using, but abusing their use to cause a stylistic apocalypse. Our PYLAR stands in the ancestral Iberian southwest, whose insane psychogeography is a sentient and autonomous being by which we have allowed ourselves to be infected in order to see beyond, as did Relgneps Rezalas and Segrob, heresiarchs of Tlön, whose texts were lost in the ancient Babel library. It was rumored that Reza Negarestani had based part of his Cyclonopedia on some fragments that he had rescued from oblivion in a bookstore on Rue d'Auseil in Paris. Negarestani shared these fragments with Francisco Jota-Pérez who did not hesitate to show them to us. Before them we could only open our eyes and remain silent.

DoC: This is the final part of a trilogy you began in 2019 with Horror Cosmico. Is the conclusion something you envisioned from the beginning? Is there anything that surprised you about Límyte after it was completed?

The trilogy was raised from the beginning in an open way. That is to say, we knew how many albums we were going to make but the path was only outlined, not totally predetermined. It has taken us five years to complete it and there have been unforeseen elements along the way that have modulated the final result. What we learned during the process has been determining the direction because we always had to climb one more step and not walk along paths already traveled. What has surprised us the most is seeing how the album changed from when we recorded the base takes of each song to the final result after adding all the arrangements and using all the tools to experiment in the studio. In fact, the central theme of LÍMYTE was improvised and composed directly in the studio. To this we must add CG Santos´ collaboration, which could not verify the degree of its effectiveness until completing the process in the study. There were several options and it was decided to use the one that pushed the sound experience of the album the most to the limit.

DoC: How did Cavsas/Cyclic Law get involved with this release, and why did you choose to partner with them?

It was CG Santos who put us in touch with various labels and Cyclic Law was very interested from the first time they heard the album. The professionalism and the good treatment that Frederic Harbor gave us from the first moment made us decide to release it with them. In addition, we know that they take great care of their editions. Cyclic Law is a cult label with an incredible professional career where legendary records have been released. Frederic proposed us to release LÍMYTE under the Cavsas sub-label, belonging to Cyclic Law but specialized in sounds closer to metal. We are very happy as we have been looking for a label specialized in experimental music for some time and I think we are in the right place to release PYLAR's music.
DoC: What's next for you?

Right now we are writing new material for the next two albums. There will be important changes that we will communicate later. LÍMYTE will be released June 23rd and we want to focus on its promotion. We will look for dates to play it live.

Pylar on Facebook

Pylar on Bandcamp

Pylar on IG

Límyte on Bandcamp [through Cavsas/Cyclic Law]

Límyte on CD/Vinyl [through the Cavsas/Cyclic Law webstore]

To Know, To Dare, To Will:

an interview
with Orthodox
Episode 217:
Wyatt E.