4 Jun 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Ryumas - Album Review: Brand. Construct. Form.

31 Oct 2022 // A review by Steve Shyu
Dunedin-dwelling producer and musician Hamish Crabb, under his stage-name Ryumas, has been creating experimental electronic music for the past four years. In the present day of October 2022, his collated work over that time has been released as a full-length album. Entitled Brand. Construct. Form., it is now out on Spotify for the world to peruse and indulge in.

Let me begin by stating that I’m not all that familiar with the jargon when it comes to producing electronic music. No, I don’t know which particular effects were used, and admittedly, I even have a hard time telling what’s played on a true keyboard and what’s on a synthesiser. However, I dare say I know what sounds good and works on a tune, regardless of what instruments made the sounds.

Thus, when I was introduced that this record was dubbed “experimental electronic”, I was mostly prepared for some ultra-aural adventures, even if I couldn’t accurately explain away the technical complexities I might hear. Whilst that label isn’t incorrect, Brand. Construct. Form. seems to strive to break any expectation of what one might expect of it.

Right out the gate, skittering hi-hats, loads of synths, plus generous helpings of scratchy effects gives one a fair summary of the outing ahead. Opening track Umeboshi boasts some very Asiatic-sounding melodies, which makes sense as “umeboshi” means “salted preserved plums” in Japanese. How quaint.

Phi features, once again, the trap beat of prominent hi-hats skittering, and lots of warped synthesised sounds, piled over with scratchy effects. This recurring theme is affirmed on the third number, Lemon Coil. If you were hoping to be spared of the epilepsy-inducing crowding of effects, perhaps skip the first half of this track. For in the last half, there is an energising keyboard solo, and some much-needed melodic hooks, which are finally provided in the last forty seconds. It’s almost like a hardcore punk performance pressed as an electronic tune.

Key highlights on this album are Umeboshi, Shell and Acicula, the latter of which involves lots of anthemic, sweeping chords, and expansive synths, some that remind one of vintage videogames. As does the first tune Umeboshi, which results in a nice book-ending to open and close an album.

On certain tracks like Poison Ivory, Cuisinaire and Glu Tach, structure and cohesion appears to be left off the plans, with inconsistent chord changes and oddly-matched keys of vocal sample, driving the listening experience to sound overly “artsy”.

Tracks like Lemon Coil and Kaisor Scar seem to end prematurely after a nice, pleasant dynamic build. After some re-arrangements, the aforementioned could become high-quality electronica, as there are plenty of epic segments that could be utilised.

As another example, with Shell clocking in at just two minutes and a half long, one seriously wishes there was more explored with the major key hook, paced itself, and let passages of the tune breathe, perhaps reserving the effects for the breakdown or saving them for choruses.

With the myriad of effects and samples obviously at the artist’s disposal, there is certainly no shortage of potential in creating tremendous, behemoth pieces. For instance, one can certainly picture Glacial Skies and Shell becoming either more atmospheric and pensive, or epic, stadium-sized EDM tunes.

With this album, if the creator’s goal was to set a draft of an arthouse, hyper-dystopian cyberpunk film or videogame, then this collection of tunes has hit the spot. But for the casual listener looking for something to groove out to with friends, or to have something in their headphones as they go for a walk, this may be challenging.

But hey, there’s plenty here to enjoy, so listen for yourself. Check out Brand. Construct. Form. here, and follow Ryumas on Instagram and YouTube.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Ryumas

Ryumas is an experimental electronic artist based in Dunedin NZ. They're interested in creating unique projects with eccentric and chaotic sound design.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ryumas


Brand. Construct. Form
Year: 2022
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Steve Shyu

SLICEDUB - Album Review: Grotesque Coil
27 May 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Oskar Simmons Carlsson and James Smith, AKA SLICEDUB. The two-man experimental-electro/dub act hailing from Auckland and Hawkes Bay have brought forth their first major release, entitled Grotesque Coil, released on Auckland label Glass Half Full.
These Four Walls - Single Review: Carousel
04 May 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Aotearoa-born and Queensland-based rockers These Four Walls’ mission is well and truly on the move. That mission is to further evolve from their previous LP This is Not a Future, from 2020.
Viices - Single Review: Sandcastle
26 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Today is the day Viices’s new song Sandcastle comes out! The band’s name has been around the live music circuits of Aotearoa for about eight years, under varying iterations of personnel, but the heart and soul of Viices remained.
Darklight Corporation - Single Review: Monogod
16 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
“Holy riff, Darklight Corporation are back??” were the first words I uttered aloud when this new single metaphorically landed in my lap.
Coridian @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 01/04/2023
05 Apr 2023 // by Steve Shyu
How could I miss this? Some of my personal favourite alt-rock acts in Tamaki Makaurau, at one of the best live venues in town.
Dead Favours - Album Review: Riffing & Yelling Part 2
30 Mar 2023 // by Steve Shyu
One can only imagine what New Zealand’s alt-rock royalty Dead Favours have experienced over the past 18-plus months crafting their new EP, enduring release delays whilst juggling life and working, on top of navigating the weirdness of the past few years. (Come to think, I CAN imagine since my band has been through the same thing BUT this isn’t about me, haha) For those not in the know, this four-piece from Tamaki Makaurau Auckland consists of guitar player and frontman Jared Wrennall, drummer Charlie Smith, guitarist Kyle Wetton, and Alex Elvis on bass guitar.
Bad Taste - Single Review: Weird Weekends
25 Mar 2023 // by Steve Shyu
Following their 2021 debut record Bad Taste, hip-hop duo Bad Taste have pressed on with making new music, particularly in creating a second album due out later this year, appropriately titled Bad Taste II. Because why would you name it anything else!
The Transits - Single Review: When You Went Away
28 Feb 2023 // by Steve Shyu
In the digital age of today, it’s not uncommon for musicians and artists to collaborate and create music from kilometers, or countries away, and even beyond continents. Such is the case for The Transits, a pop rock indie trio consisting of members from Durban, South Africa and Tamaki Makaurau Auckland.
View All Articles By Steve Shyu

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Fifty Fifty
    Morgan Wallen
    David Kushner
    Miley Cyrus
    Rema And Selena Gomez
    The Weeknd And Ariana Grande
    Taylor Swift feat. Ice Spice
  • BOY'S A LIAR PT. 2
    PinkPantheress And Ice Spice
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem