Artificial Pulse Darkpop Ex-Hyena Ex-Hyena is the collaboration of musicians Reuben Bettsak and Bo Barringer. Brought together by what can be considered pandemic blues, the duo used the situation to turn out a creative effort that they describe as a "mutant disco alien dance party, where cold electronics and warm emotion sprawl across a nocturnal dystopia of underground electro." Both musicians have gotten to know each other for more than twenty years, developing their relationship in bands such as Future Carnivores, Emerald Comets, Guillermo Sexo, and more. While their previous efforts were streamlined, their new moniker under the Ex-Hyena name allows them to channel sounds from electro, techno, darkwave, synthpop, post-rock, and other genres. The band was hard at work throughout 2020 developing a name for themselves through a steady stream of singles and a remix EP. This has led to their debut album "Artificial Pulse". Artificial Pulse by Ex-HyenaWhat is found on the album, then, is not a bouncy, four-on-the-floor dance album that's normal to our underground and humble scene. No, the best way to describe this album is to picture it in the scene of a movie. It's as if you're on the seventieth floor of a mega-building, sitting in a smoky café where people keep to themselves. People don't pay attention to one another, but rather to their drinks and cigarettes that lay in front of them. All the while, they stare out at the problematic city that they find themselves in; also one where they can't escape from. All the while, 'Shades' drifts through the speakers in this futuristic location offering an extremely light disco tinge alongside dual vocals; a whispering, higher pitched model behind a sturdier, solid spoken-word ramble. This description, of course, was further inspired by Ex-Hyena's wonderful cover art for the album, which has science fiction and neon colors written all over it. It's a hypnotic and minimal album without a dry moment in between songs. Rather than focusing on a million different layers to generate a unique sound, Ex-Hyena utilizes a select set of electronic notes without coming out as overbearing. The beats are meticulous and well-crafted, which forced me to really focus on what was going on; it's this type of analyzing that I find most amusing in a song. Something different, something breathing, and something so out there that it encapsulates my attention. 'Ultraviolet' was a song that brought out that feeling in me; raw post-rock drum work met minimal electro notes and an even more minimal bassline. The clapping of hands worked wonders on me; again, the word "hypnotic" comes out when I think of this track and this album as a whole.Even when Ex-Hyena decides to exclude their vocals from a song they manage to dominate, such as in 'Evening Reports'. This deep techno inspired track holds an eerie air of ambiance as computer-like sound effects drivel throughout the track. Though it only last for one-minute and fifty-four seconds, the duo understand the need for constant change in their music. Thus after about a minute of song, it adds in further electronic lines to change up the pace. 'Cocktails at Dawn' is another prime example of Ex-Hyena dominating instrumental tracks; disco inspired beats soaking up the minimal aspect of the band as hits of bass come and go as they please. It's quite an addictive track, to say the very least. It is songs like these that make me love music; it keeps me questioning what's going to come next. What I also find attractive about this album is the layout of the songs; spinning it from 'Shades' to 'Motorfreaks' never got boring in the five or so times I played it. The disco inspired electro beats of 'Shades' is followed by the quiet sounds of 'Night Scenes'. Following that I was placed into the boppy bits of 'Ultraviolet', then the darkwave inspired ballad that is 'Fortress Supreme'. Later on in the album, the sheer electronic wizardry of 'Artificial Pulse' is followed by the sweet electro track 'Distance is a Trigger'. Simply put, Ex-Hyena took their time in not only crafting wonderful songs, but also by thinking out where each song should be placed without ever boring the listener by giving them too much of one idea at a time. "Artificial Pulse" is an album that has made its mark on me and it has done it well; it's a minimal, soothing, and hypnotic twelve track epic through the sounds of futuristic hits. It's minimal, for sure, but that does not detract from the glorious electronics that are found on the album. The only sin is that the album is not available in physical format, but hopefully we'll see it put out on CD or vinyl sometime in the future. For now, a T-Shirt is available on Bandcamp which comes with a digital copy of "Artificial Pulse". Eight out of ten. Great job. This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. 450
Brutal Resonance

Ex-Hyena - Artificial Pulse

8.5
"Great"
Released off label 2021
Ex-Hyena is the collaboration of musicians Reuben Bettsak and Bo Barringer. Brought together by what can be considered pandemic blues, the duo used the situation to turn out a creative effort that they describe as a "mutant disco alien dance party, where cold electronics and warm emotion sprawl across a nocturnal dystopia of underground electro." Both musicians have gotten to know each other for more than twenty years, developing their relationship in bands such as Future Carnivores, Emerald Comets, Guillermo Sexo, and more. While their previous efforts were streamlined, their new moniker under the Ex-Hyena name allows them to channel sounds from electro, techno, darkwave, synthpop, post-rock, and other genres. The band was hard at work throughout 2020 developing a name for themselves through a steady stream of singles and a remix EP. This has led to their debut album "Artificial Pulse". 



What is found on the album, then, is not a bouncy, four-on-the-floor dance album that's normal to our underground and humble scene. No, the best way to describe this album is to picture it in the scene of a movie. It's as if you're on the seventieth floor of a mega-building, sitting in a smoky café where people keep to themselves. People don't pay attention to one another, but rather to their drinks and cigarettes that lay in front of them. All the while, they stare out at the problematic city that they find themselves in; also one where they can't escape from. All the while, 'Shades' drifts through the speakers in this futuristic location offering an extremely light disco tinge alongside dual vocals; a whispering, higher pitched model behind a sturdier, solid spoken-word ramble. This description, of course, was further inspired by Ex-Hyena's wonderful cover art for the album, which has science fiction and neon colors written all over it. 

It's a hypnotic and minimal album without a dry moment in between songs. Rather than focusing on a million different layers to generate a unique sound, Ex-Hyena utilizes a select set of electronic notes without coming out as overbearing. The beats are meticulous and well-crafted, which forced me to really focus on what was going on; it's this type of analyzing that I find most amusing in a song. Something different, something breathing, and something so out there that it encapsulates my attention. 'Ultraviolet' was a song that brought out that feeling in me; raw post-rock drum work met minimal electro notes and an even more minimal bassline. The clapping of hands worked wonders on me; again, the word "hypnotic" comes out when I think of this track and this album as a whole.

Even when Ex-Hyena decides to exclude their vocals from a song they manage to dominate, such as in 'Evening Reports'. This deep techno inspired track holds an eerie air of ambiance as computer-like sound effects drivel throughout the track. Though it only last for one-minute and fifty-four seconds, the duo understand the need for constant change in their music. Thus after about a minute of song, it adds in further electronic lines to change up the pace. 'Cocktails at Dawn' is another prime example of Ex-Hyena dominating instrumental tracks; disco inspired beats soaking up the minimal aspect of the band as hits of bass come and go as they please. It's quite an addictive track, to say the very least. It is songs like these that make me love music; it keeps me questioning what's going to come next. 

What I also find attractive about this album is the layout of the songs; spinning it from 'Shades' to 'Motorfreaks' never got boring in the five or so times I played it. The disco inspired electro beats of 'Shades' is followed by the quiet sounds of 'Night Scenes'. Following that I was placed into the boppy bits of 'Ultraviolet', then the darkwave inspired ballad that is 'Fortress Supreme'. Later on in the album, the sheer electronic wizardry of 'Artificial Pulse' is followed by the sweet electro track 'Distance is a Trigger'. Simply put, Ex-Hyena took their time in not only crafting wonderful songs, but also by thinking out where each song should be placed without ever boring the listener by giving them too much of one idea at a time. 

"Artificial Pulse" is an album that has made its mark on me and it has done it well; it's a minimal, soothing, and hypnotic twelve track epic through the sounds of futuristic hits. It's minimal, for sure, but that does not detract from the glorious electronics that are found on the album. The only sin is that the album is not available in physical format, but hopefully we'll see it put out on CD or vinyl sometime in the future. For now, a T-Shirt is available on Bandcamp which comes with a digital copy of "Artificial Pulse". Eight out of ten. Great job. 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
Apr 11 2021

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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