Brendan Byrnes’ Micropangaea

Micropangaea is a unique thing. So unique I can’t even find any appropriate comparison or metaphor…

The use of microtonality in music has long been kept to advanced and underground acts, be it of metal, ambient or ethnic music. Jute Gyte has recently released an astonishing microtonal album, Discontinuities, which was written in 24-EDO. Basically, that means that a 24-EDO guitar will have twice as many frets as a normal one, bringing the possibility to play quarter-tones without having to always bend a string. The black metal-vibe of the album is given by the great use of dissonant intervals and chords and of chaotic rhythmic signatures.v

Micropangaea, however, brings quite a lot of diversity to the table. Each song on the album is written on a different microtonal scale, exploiting different vibes, feels, and challenging the ear (but not quite so, more on this a little later). There are three different classes of scales : Just intonation scales (JI), Equal Divisions of the Octave (EDO), and Non-Octave scales (NO). You can checkout the album’s website for some amazing artworks and infos on each song on it! This is really interesting.

Unlike most microtonal stuff I’ve heard, the goal here is not to challenge the listener, but rather to take his hand and show him new soundscapes, and to show him the beauty of it all. Bit by bit, you will be amazed at how music can stray out of the common path and still be pretty and enjoyable.

Most of the songs on Micropangaea are feel-good songs you’d listen to when you’re in a joyful mood, in the summertime, with light beer and/or lemonade. At times, however, a few notes or a certain chord will make you cringe because of the oddity of it, but listening again and again you will eventually tame the wild intervals and adopt them as they are, and make them a part of your life.

Micropangaea is one SOLID piece of music, and I cannot congratulate and thank Brendan Byrnes enough for taking the time and efforts it took to write such a wonderful and thorough album.

You can get the album for free on bandcamp (or decide to buy the Limited Edition CD-R!), and give a like to this amazing artist!