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When we last checked in with former Valley mainstays Lymbyc Systym in early 2007, siblings Mike and Jared Bell were getting ready to release their first full-length album, Love Your Abuser, on Mush Records. In the 21/2 years since, the duo has released a remix version of that same album, as well as a split EP with This Will Destroy You and a reissue of their long out-of-print debut EP, Carved by Glaciers.
The twin releases, available on CD and vinyl via Magic Bullet Records, mean that Lymbyc Systym are in the unusual position of simultaneously promoting their newest recordings and their oldest. Younger brother Jared, who recently relocated to Brooklyn (Mike has lived in Austin for several years), says the duo was initially hesitant to re-release Glaciers.
"I think it was sort of one of those things where we didn't know if we ever wanted to (release) it again, 'cause it wasn't on the label in the first place and, you know, you always sort of hate your older music," Bell says. "But everyone was really into re-releasing it, and the more we listened to it, the more we realized it's definitely where we were at the time. It actually gave me a whole new appreciation for the album."
The reissue also means that Lymbyc Systym have been incorporating some of the old tracks into their set list.
"I feel bad, but I think it's definitely true: As an artist, you always hate — not hate, but you outgrow — everything you make, ideally," Bell says of revisiting the older songs. "You're always thinking what you're making now is better than what you've made before . . . I think two of the songs [on Glaciers], maybe, were written and the other three we just sort of made in the studio. It was very much the opposite approach to how we make music now. In a way, it's been really fun playing the songs and hearing the album in a new light."
Even though the physical distance between the brothers has grown, Jared says that their touring and recording schedule ensures that they rarely go more than two or three months without seeing each other. Living in the same city would make things easier, he concedes, but the Internet allows them to collaborate in ways that weren't possible less than a decade ago. But while the Web affords them the luxury of fleshing out ideas long-distance, when it comes time to record new material, the brothers prefer old-fashioned, in-person meetings.
The duo also maintains an old-school mentality about their live performances. Despite the heavily layered atmospherics of their studio output, Lymbyc Systym's live show is a surprisingly organic experience.
"I think for two people, and especially with a band of electronics, the possibility for a totally lame live show just becomes greater and greater," Bell says. "Watching a guy just fiddle with his laptop is just so boring, you know? We definitely have always wanted to steer as far away from that as possible. We keep the computer to a minimum. The other thing we try to do is — where our albums are more about a supersonic experience, like layered orchestral stuff — live, we just try to have as much balls as possible. It's a lot louder and a lot more heavy live, as in-your-face as it can be for two people. We resort to the computer once all our hands and feet are completely full and there's still something that absolutely can't be left out."