A change of scenery can have a great influence on the mind, body and spirit; a change which is often for the better. And if you’re an artist, this change will definitely make its way into your work. The Seattle based singer/songwriter BYSON knows about change all too well, having left Las Vegas to move to Seattle, Washington, two places that couldn’t be more different from one another. Inspired by this change of scenery BYSON began to shift his influences from lyrical bands towards the genres of new age and ambient music. He described the process as being very freeing and that he was then able to write “things from an open point of view and stopped thinking about the rest of the world and the music that was a driving force for it.”
BYSON’s debut album Audiology is stylistically a blend of ‘80s techno-pop tunes with bits of folksiness and tinges of Americana. Tonally the album has a very haunting feel, much of which may stem from the fact that BYSON wrote these songs alone in the dense woods of Seattle’s Discovery Park.
Loneliness is another theme that Audiology is immersed in. It begins right away on the rock and synth- based lament “Alchemy” and continues right on into the pop-centric danceable beats of “Factoria.” BYSON doesn’t hold back the emotion for very long as is demonstrated on the sad-song balladry of “Mora.” The ambient sadness continues with the softly sung “Paragon,” which over the course of the track begins to pick up with hollow bass beats that sound a bit clubby though given the sad lyrical undertones, one can surmise the song probably wasn’t intended for the dance floor.
Ironically enough the next track “Commodore” is perfect for the dance floor with its sparkly synths and well-timed beats. “River” comes out of nowhere with an acoustic guitar, which as the song progresses goes away to be replaced by keyboards and starry sounding loops. “Effigy” works much the same way, only it begins with a clean keyboard riff and BYSON singing, and then it eventually becomes another synth soaked track, which one begins to notice shares many similarities to many of the previous tracks on Audiology, a characteristic which fans of ambient and new age style music may choose to overlook. However it is the one thing I cannot overlook. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” And even though Audiology marks a change in BYSON’s career and sound, he isn’t necessarily bringing any change to a genre that is already brimming over with machine made beats and fanciful keyboard riffs. He may not be reinventing the wheel but this is an accomplished album that is not to be missed.
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