Syrinx - Reification

Year of Release: 2003
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:21:00

It's fair to say that, these days the electric guitar is the dominant solo voice in progressive rock. Argue if you want to, but you can't deny the axe's preeminence among instruments in modern-day prog. To me, this isn't really a bad thing; I personally go nuts for a great solo whenever I hear it. That said, it is good to hear music where the axe takes the back seat now and then. Which brings us to Syrinx, a French unit that has 86'd the axe in favor of acoustic guitars as the melodic basis of the complex, engaging songs found on their debut, Reification.

Syrinx is a secretive bunch that call themselves the Transcribers and who only reveal certain facts about themselves: The band is comprised of members from other bands (a la Transatlantic, OSI, etc.) and that the instruments played are ?acoustic guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, drums, and other instruments?. Syrinx is more forthright about their musical philosophy; they play ?metamorphic music? (their description), music designed to induce an ?interior metamorphosis? in listeners and to create a ?climate? that remains in the physical environment after the music has stopped. And, if that's not enough, Reification is the first piece in a trilogy of instrumental works created to recount the tale of the subversion of the Aeon Syrinx by the Archon Pan. An ambitious project, to say the least, but if Reification is any indication, Syrinx is definitely up to the challenge.

As for those guitars, their presence is established at the outset. From the opening melody of ?Reification? to the closing strains of ?L'Hypostase Des Archontes," the ringing guitars carry the show, primarily as finger-picked melodies integrated into the heavily-textured soundscapes. And that's the definition of Syrinx' songs: precise composition and instrumental arrangements woven into dense musical tapestries designed to challenge listeners' experiences and imaginations.

Now, if I've given the impression that the guitars are the only elements that make Syrinx unique, let me set you straight. Each of Les Transcripteurs is a master of his (her?) instrument, and all participate as equals throughout Reification. Gorgeous fretless bass, soul-wrenching keyboards, Neil Peart-precise percussion, and those fine guitars all share in the spotlight, working tirelessly together to create what must be some of the most original, avant garde music ever heard. The five songs on Reification are lengthy and each contains enough musical ideas to give other artists an album's worth of material, but in the capable hands of Syrinx they run steadily along, never bogging down in boring pretentiousness. Their immense talent also makes the Transcribers masters of derring-do, who brazenly pit sweet, angular melodies against chaotic near-dissonance, then execute breath-taking sonic pirouettes to rescue disorienting (YOU try and count some of those times!) beauty from disturbing musical entropy.

Quite frankly, I don't know what else to say about Reification, except that it is astoundingly original and breathtakingly beautiful. I personally have rarely heard albums that approach what Syrinx has accomplished with Reification, and that is probably the best recommendation that I can offer. If you've got a yearning for something truly different and challenging, Reification may just be your Holy Grail. Absolutely brilliant.

Rating: 6/5 (yeah, you see it right)

Reification (16:56) / Emanescence (8:32) / Le Vingtieme Cercle (7:30) / Orbis Ubique (14:41) / L'Hypostase Des Archontes (7:40)

The Transcribers ? all instruments and treatments

Reification (2003)
Qualia (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: December 24th 2003
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website:
Hits: 485
Language: english


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