Review: Tyberium “No Strings Attached”
Tyberium “No Strings Attached”
Electronic music, and the technology that accompanies it, has come a long way since the early American and European composers began experimenting with tape loops and sound manipulation. Today, with a wide variety of powerful tools available to them, sound technicians and composers can take any sound, any sample, and weaver it into a totally new sound and timbre. One of these new breed of composers, that has had success with taking one sound and using it to create myriad other sounds and emulate other instruments at the same time, is Tyberium. The composer’s stage name, Tyberium, was inspired by his love of the video game series Command and Conquer, as a play on words with the mysterious element tiberium which is featured in the game itself.
Tiberiium’s first album, No Strings Attached, features 11 tracks that were inspired by some of his favorite guitarists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Paul GIlbert. Not being a guitarist himself, Tyberium used DAW, a Digital Audio Workstation to compose the music on a keyboard, then manipulate the sounds and bring them all together to form each track. Not the most conventional way to compose and record instrumental guitar-sounding music, but one that works very well in this instance and just might inspire other electronic composers to explore these possibilities further in their writing and recording.
The album features mostly instrumental tracks, such as the expertly composed “Careless Winter,” which brings to mind both Steve Vai and David Gilmour’s guitar tone, as well as a piano section that hints at Pink Floyd’s “Allan’s Psychedelic Breakfast,” if only slightly. Other instrumental tracks are more harmonic based, such as the hard-driving groove and guitar work of “Clash of the Chords.” As the title suggests, this track is largely based on a series of chords that Tyberium lets ring out, followed by an arpeggiated single-line run that floats over top of the distorted layers beneath. This track is definitely one of the biggest highlights of the record, deep layers of melody and harmony interacting perfectly to build and build until the climax of the piece is reached.
Though 10 of the 11 songs on the record are completely instrumental, “Area 51” features samples of Star Trek characters in different dialogues with each other. Used to give the song a “space theme,” the samples are woven seamlessly into the music, not sounded jagged or forced whatsoever. In fact, they sound very natural and add to the piece, raising the level of interest and layering different textures at the same time.
Along with the harder rockin’ moments, Tyberium also brings his softer side to the forefront with tracks such as “Lullaby.” Here, the acoustic guitar and piano sounds are featured on softly woven melodies that are comingled with electronic sounds throughout the song. Though one doesn’t always associate instrumental guitar music with a lullaby such as this, it is just this kind of slower, more melodic song that adds just the right amount of contrast to this album.
Tyberium hits the nail on the head with No Strings Attached, which is a well written, creatively interpreted collection of 11 instrumental tracks that will appeal to fans of instrumental guitar and electronic music alike. Though none of it was composed on an actual guitar, it is very difficult to tell the difference. The technology at composer’s fingertips these days is truly incredible, and No Strings Attached is an example of what these programs can do in the hands of a master technician.
Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)