There’s a strangely hypnotic quality to the dark ambient compositions that electronic musician Mystryl serves up, particularly on latest album Eye.
Hailing from the Netherlands, the electronic music composer has been releasing a variety of EPs and albums since 2020’s Origin. Despite the ambient nature of the music, there’s often a tangible quality at work that’s drawn from the beats that form part of the music’s foundations. It’s not difficult to recognise trance or EDM elements peppered across Mystryl’s various releases with throbbing beats and machine-like percussion driving everything along, yet with an otherworldly presence. At times, the instrumental numbers suggest a playlist culled from an occult-themed club.
“I was inspired by much electronic music, but I also love metal music and sometimes these influences can be heard in my music “suggests Mystryl when speaking to The Electricity Club, “To create something new is challenging, and not to be influenced too much can be hard. But I think I managed to do it.”
“I used to play guitar when I was about 16 years old, but never furthered with it. I discovered electronic music early on, but never attempted to create it myself. Around 2013 I started my first steps in electronic music, and created my very first (unreleased) song. I became much more serious around 2018 and have been making electronic music ever since.”
At times, there’s an intriguing use of language used to title many of these instrumental outings, which give the tracks a cryptic quality. The titles can utilise archaic terms or obscure references to minerals and colours lending Mystryl’s work an almost alchemical veneer. “I create a theme for each album, and each one of them usually describes the events that occurred in my life. From depression, mental illness to darker thoughts. Feelings of being an outcast, those sorts of themes work very well for the music, and can be heard vividly.”
From a technical perspective, Mystryl relies on the regular workhorses of bedroom production. “I mostly use my laptop, and many different synthesizer plugins. Ranging from Cherry Audio to Crumar plugins. All sounds in my music were created from scratch, and I use no presets. For each song I dial in a new sound and go from there.”
2022 proved a productive year for Mystryl’s work, releasing nearly an album a month starting with the sepulchral moods of February’s Moonlet and the icy reflections of Velvet Garden in July. August saw the arrival of the Oubliette album, embracing more of the beats and EDM elements that seem to be more prominent on Mystryl’s current musical output.
Originally released in October, Eye represents Mystryl’s ninth album and was recently enhanced with three bonus tracks. The album rotates around a repeating motif that echoes across the various tracks, including the melodic ‘Torus’ which employs a tight, repetitive electronic pattern with some shimmering synths giving it an ethereal sheen. There’s a more brooding quality to ‘Broken Clouds’ while ‘Midnight Me’ sounds like its been culled from a science fiction soundtrack with its subtle drama.
The production of these albums also comes from a definite need to isolate from the current electronic music scene. “I don’t listen to much music anymore” offers Mystryl, “I know there are many great artists out there, but I know that when I start to listen to it it might influence me, and I try to avoid that as much as I can. So there can be many months without me listening to anything.”
The end result is a series of strange, almost supernatural soundscapes that offer up a darker (and perhaps more intriguing) approach to ambient music.