Hailing from Canberra, Australia, Ivan Bullock has been a solo musician and apparently s community-founder for underground and experimental music in the area. Bullock is a trained classical violinist who started to make music under the moniker Minorarc around two decades ago. Bullock states “The music shifted from synth-heavy dark electronica, into a new world of progressive metal and post-rock.” That’s very on point and you can hear this on the two full LP’s he released entitled Untold and Overburden.
I started with the album Untold and it begins with “Victims of That Before.” You are greeted with ominous sounding pads and clean delayed guitar with dramatic spoken word. It reminded me of sci-fi movies like Dune. That thematic introduction continues but the vocals changing to something melodic started to unveil the song. Piano comes and goes, drums feel like they are warming and occasional metal guitar is present. There are a lot of builds and sometimes the music locks into groove but Bullock isn’t afraid to tear it down. The drums sounded electronic and programmed to me but still worked well with the music.
As the album progresses the mood that is established on the first song persists. “Dichroic Shadow” contains syncopated bass, what sounds like choral pads and clean and glistening piano. There are some cool grooves on this song. I loved what was happening between the guitar and piano especially around the four-minute mark.
“Palace of Crystal” showcases more than a structure which has a lot of changes. Bullock will lock onto grooves but often takes out the percussion not too far in. There’s no hook of chorus and I thought this approach worked with this music. “Deluge” is a very ambient song. There’s a new vocalist on this song who I surmise is Bullock but this isn’t quite singing. He says single words in a dramatic way as if he is a villain in a movie.
“Crossed Inclusion” is next and there’s some wicked guitar work on this track. The piano and pads play around together as if it’s one instrument. “A Lull Short LIved” felt a little lighter in mood compared to the other tracks. It still sounds dark but there’s also more of a warm melancholy which feels tranquil and new age-y but not in a bad way.
“Three Year Untouched” felt a bit menacing. I think this was coming from the bass drum and guitar work. It creates an interesting juxtaposition. “The Bane’s Remnants” has one of the best grooves on the release. I was getting NIN type vibes on this song.
“A Precipitation’s Gaps” is a solid hybrid with many dynamic moments while “Inheritance Devoid” is a cerebral and hypnotic song with an engaging bass line. Last up is “A Breath’s Short Plane” which was a fairly airy and ambient song to end the album with.
Bullock mentions this about Untold, “Musically, its aim is to depict subconscious foreign landscapes, worlds within dreamy storms, drowning and ultimate loss.” I’m guessing the same is true about the companion album entitled Overburden which he describes as a supplementary side dish. Suffice it to say if you enjoy Untold you will like Overburden as well.
Overburden starts with the title track “Overburden.” There’s a very cool repeating piano melody as the song starts that feels pensive and cerebral. It eventually subsides and leaves you with heavy pads, trickling piano and bass that chooses the specific notes to highlight. As with many songs, once the distorted guitar is introduced things feel much more heavy. On this song distortion drips from chords while a couple different leads create the focal point The hard panned lead guitars worked really well in this case.
You feel like you are in an alien subterranean cave on “Palace of Silt” and yes I couldn’t help but feel I was in a sci-fi type movie as arpeggiated synths and pads make it all about the mood.
“Whitewash” was one of the highlights on the album. I thought the grooves were great but there are a lot of different types of energy on this song and an almost endless supply of changes which felt seamless. “Slowlight” felt like a comedown after the storm. It’s more of a relaxing and serene tracks which lets your mind at ease. The grooves come back with “Monolith of Clay” and more overt post-rock vibes comes from “Eroded Seam.”
“A Different Path Between Fractures” was a slow burn. There are some cool things going on here. The metal guitar almost sounds like it’s interrupting the other elements saying something like “Hey, look at me I can come in at any time and cause a disturbance.” The threat always seemed to be there.
“A Brief Afterthought” bubbles with energy. The sub bass synth line on this song was cool but more so how he deconstructs the sounds in this song. Last up is the ten-minute epic “A Longer Afterthought.” There’a a lot to cover on this song but I will say it’s a roller coaster ride. The transitions between the synth parts, the long ambient sections and other moments made it feel like a condensed song showing all the different sides to the artist.
These two albums definitely felt like one and the same. Bullock utilizes the same palette of sounds to create a cohesive and very satisfying listening experience. There’s a lot to explore so take your time and take a listen. Recommended.
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