Inspired by a multi-year journey across the globe, CYRRCA’s self-titled LP is a blend of the iconic, the intimate, and the mythic. The 13 tracks on the album weave together the happenings of a trek that stretches from the Trans Siberian Railway to the Montenegrin coastline; from Rumi’s shrine in Mevlana, Turkey to the Korean mountainside. The lyrics tell the story of the project as it began – not as an album, but rather a collection of manuscripts, journals, and poems that were written while on this spiritual quest. Years later, those writings were adapted into an album that explores themes of spirituality, self-discovery, and transformation.
The music features an array of production styles, with each track inspired by distinct locales. The wide-reaching spectrum of sounds and influences are as varied as the far-flung sojourn that inspired the work. The resulting record is a contemporary epic; gritty, but chiseled to exacting form.
“North Sea” is a tranquil track that uses atmospheric elements and prominent piano chords to set a peaceful mood for the spoken word approach to the lyrics. Inspired by the ambient work of K. Leimer, CYRRCA starts off the album with introspective spiritual and worldly musings against transcendent harmonies. The energy picks up in “Beograd,” which draws inspiration for its minimalist vibe from Sailli. Bright vocals blend with a pulsating beat to open the track before giving way to a thrumming bassline that backs CYRCCA’s pronounced lyrics. Even with the more elaborate production, the track still manages to maintain a sense of peace thanks to its ethereal instrumentals.
We hear a shift in the lyrical style in “Namsan,” which still sounds like the spoken word but takes on pacing that’s more along rap lines. Strong vocalizations by Hyojin Park are scattered amongst the oscillating beat that is complemented by various live instruments. The increased hip-hop shift continues through “Temple Charm.” It’s an entrancing song with a bright and upbeat funk-inspired beat and sparkly vocals from SOLE. There’s a very island-esque sound to the track, inspired by K-pop wiz-kid and BTS producer Jinbo The Superfreak.
Everything slows down for “Qufu Interlude,” which features minimal vocals and resonating strums, before picking back up for “Apocalypse Tao.” A bold and confident track, “Apocalypse Tao” continues to showcase CYRCCA’s masterful lyricism and the blending of traditional and modern. The meeting of traditional and modern continues in “Free.” It combines old-school hip-hop vibes with experimental electronic vibes, resulting in a unique soundscape.
“Pyrrhic Victories” features a shimmering instrumental to back the introspective lyrics. The softness of the glistening atmosphere is balanced by the sharpness of CYRRCA’s return to a spoken word approach for his message. The production captures the breezy seaside feeling of the Mediterranean Sea and the tenderness continues into “Still Thankful.” The soft-spoken tone is reflective in both the lyrics and the calming instrumental. “Bonifacio” also maintains calming vibes thanks to a radiant instrumental line. Despite the regret that CYRRCA expresses through his lyrics, there’s an unparalleled appreciation that is still apparent.
A more melancholic tone sets an obvious shift in mood with “Nothing.” The regret is much more palpable as the lyrics transpire feelings of loss and loneliness. The production is more wistful than previously heard, revealing an undertone of hurt. “My Lies” extends the mood. Using extensive reverbs, CYRCCA masters the instrumental to complement his whispery vocals. The message continues to look inward in a more temperamental tone. We witness one more shift in the closing track, “Istanbul.” The downward route that was evident in the last few tracks is fully acknowledged during this track. Its production takes an upward tone, complete with generous synths, as we hear the realizations this multi-year journey have culminated in.
The CYRRCA project includes a 13-track album, an accompanying art book, an episodic visual album with full-length music videos for every song, and thirteen 3D animated symbols, which illustrate the mythic narrative that shimmers throughout the work.
This is an incredibly unique overall piece of work. There is definitely nothing like it out in the music world right now. It’s intriguing and the stories that CYRCCA shares through his colorful lyricism and elaborate productions. This LP is an honest experience that CYRRCA has chosen to share with us. And it’s truly a journey.