BY IAN URRUTIA
HEADER DESIGN BY MC GALANG; ARTIST PHOTO COURTESY OF MAX CHAN WANG
Despite the pressures to postpone the release of their debut album, Symbol, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong-based band TYNT are moving ahead as planned, making it available for purchase at local record store White Noise Records last Friday, April 10. The band’s eight-track record will be out on digital and streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music on April 17—a few days after the physical copies were displayed on White Noise Records’ store in Kowloon.
“All potential gigs are postponed or cancelled for the time being, so working on your material and releasing them is one of the few things bands can still work on at the moment,” TYNT’s Rothchild Wong tells The Rest Is Noise. “However, being involved and knowing many people from the ecosystem, from promoters, venues, and technicians for both live shows and recording, to production teams and basically anyone involved in the music industry—everybody has been devastated by the epidemic.”
Amid economic uncertainties and cancellations that swept the global music industry to near paralysis, the electronic post-rock band remains optimistic about weathering the challenges in the coming months. “In the end, all we can do is try to support each other and survive through these coming tough times.”
In fact, their new album, Symbol, is prophetic in delivering a dystopian sound that is both bleak and hopeful. Their work, densely layered and not removed from mirroring the worldwide tremor of today’s current social and political landscape, builds into a crushing, colossal cacophony of musical influences.
“Musically, we think this album unconsciously contrasts deep and sentimental emotions with dark and sometimes bombastic parts,” Wong said. “While we aren’t keen to define our music by genre due to the inaccuracy of language, we think Symbol tries to reference shoegaze-y and psychedelic elements using components of generally synth-y electronica, mixed with a touch of other influences like industrial and post-rock, which seems to give this album its particular character.” The result evokes the cumulative soundscapes of the present time, rendering the expansive possibilities of both the conceptual and the abstract with humanity and nature taking its course.
“Piety,” the first single off the latest album, was released last week, complete with neon-lit visuals from music video director Jennifer Medina. Propulsive and clubby, but rearing its head toward unpredictability, the track is the closest thing we can get to TYNT at their most accessible. As mentioned by Wong, “On a personal level, it is us trying to make sense of our own and each other’s emotions, and finding a way to express that together in our music. So what this album symbolises to us, will ultimately be different to what it symbolises to each listener. What this album is about, will be up to the listener and whatever their impression of it is.”
Other standouts in the album include “Erasing,” which wreaks havoc with a cinematic instrumentation and Nine Inch Nails-inspired sonic ambition; “Stripe” and “Hunt,” both tracking the eclectic band’s emotive and upbeat musical direction to exciting new places, and “Nomad,” a passing calm in the middle of the storm. “Our first album is pretty much the same cliché notion with most new groups; it embodies the fresh chemistry between our members that came from a union by chance, and also marks the beginning of our journey to truly understand one another more. On a musical level, it is our initial exploration into the sonic field that we possess individually and collectively.”
What is abundantly clear from the first impression of listening to TYNT’s music is that they’re the kind of band capable of incorporating diverse musical motifs against a backdrop of spine-tingling instrumentation, while making sure it sounds completely cohesive as a whole.