Originally released in 2000 exclusively on CD, the self-titled debut album by Boston-based instrumental math-rock band Lynx (featuring Dave Konopka, ex-Battles), is now being reissued and available for the first time in both vinyl and digital formats via Computer Students label.
This forward-thinking album, serving as a harbinger of math-infused music that emerged in the new millennium, deftly melds understated, cyclic guitar riffs with sparsely-crafted, concise drum rhythms.
“Mrs. Lynx” is the second track on the Lynx album. The song is a centerpiece of the band’s work and contains most of the characteristics of their music: haunting, repetitive guitar patterns mixed together with minimalist, hypnotic drum beats, creating an unpredictable, epic progression. Check out the new remastered version of the track above.
This deluxe edition is augmented by a second vinyl entitled Human Speech, an EP featuring three unreleased tracks recorded in 2021 but composed more than 20 years ago. The entire collection will be released by one of our favorite independent records labels out there, Computer Students™ in their Expanded Reissues series on May 5, 2023. It includes a massive double-sided poster and is housed in a sleek, tactile, aluminum packaging.
The tale of Lynx is the outcome of a steadfast journey of experimentation that commenced in the cellar of a triple-decker house located on Calumet Street in Boston’s Mission Hill district and continued for several years thereafter. Mike, Dave, and Paul formed a close bond in 1994 during their time at the Massachusetts College of Art, while Paul and Dale’s camaraderie developed through playing gigs with their previous bands – Dagobah from Cape Cod and Phyllis from Maine, respectively.
Sometime around 1996, Mike and Dave had strung together a series of guitar parts in the interest of writing a few songs. Paul and Mike — who briefly had a project as a duo called Glans — lived on the first floor of the three-decker, directly above the basement. Paul would often overhear Mike and Daveʼs relentless practices seeping through the floorboards, eventually driving him to the point of joining them out of necessity rather than listening to their tinny, aimless guitar work from the living room couch.
Contributing an overall sense of direction and cohesion, Paul incorporated his much-needed low-end bass offerings to accompany Mike and Daveʼs intertwined guitar parts. Still missing a crucial element, Mike timidly approached Dale and asked if he would be interested in playing drums on some of the music theyʼd been working on. Dale reluctantly agreed under the general caveat that “it doesnʼt suck.” He sat in on a few rehearsals — and, as it turns out, it didnʼt.
It wasnʼt until Dale joined the other three in the basement — providing a sense of mass and context to the amalgamation of parts Mike, Dave, and Paul had sketched out — that the four guys acknowledged that there might be a connection there, and something real might actually be happening.
It was Lynx.
Lynx eventually moved on from the basement and into a rehearsal space. They grouped a few songs together to record an EP with Keith Souza at what would ultimately become the first incarnation of the studio Machines with Magnets. Asking to get on some shows at the Middle East nightclub in Cambridge led to Lynx playing their first show on Tax Day — April 15, 1997. Those first few shows generated bigger shows, allowing Lynx to amass a modest following around the area and to open as local support for some prolific out-of-town touring bands of that era.
Befriending those bands allowed Lynx to bridge the gap to the Midwest, broaden their horizons, and start to play shows outside of the Northeast. Their admiration for the city of Chicago and its supportive network of a thriving independent rock community — particularly for the genre of music Lynx was drawn to — began to stoke an interest in living there full-time. By the fall of 1999, the band had officially relocated. The Chicago period started with an extensive amount of rehearsing and fine-tuning the first batch of songs written in preparation for a recording session with Bob Weston at Soma Studios.
Their first full-length album, aptly titled Lynx, was released via Box Factory Records in the summer of 2000. Following the albumʼs release, Lynx wrote three new songs that were part of a solid live set of exceptionally tight performances that evolved over the course of a grueling forty-seven-day, self-booked tour of the United States. Lynx considered these three songs to be a creative turning point. Though the songs were road-tested and compositionally solidified on tour, they were never fully realized by a proper studio recording. They ended up becoming the lost songs symbolic of the starting point of a potential second album that never happened.
Upon their return to Chicago from the embattled tour, Lynx had collapsed under the pressures of trying to earn a living as touring musicians and recording artists. They neglected to record the three new songs. Mike returned to his hometown of Portland, Maine. Paul and Dale remained in Chicago for a bit longer, and subsequently returned to the east coast following tenures in other bands. Dave moved to Brooklyn, just a couple of years shy of becoming a co-founding member of the experimental rock band Battles.
In the spring of 2021, Lynx was approached by the record label Computer Students™ about releasing the Lynx LP on vinyl for the first time, to which each member gratefully obliged. The album was converted from 2-inch tape to digital format at Electrical Audio in Chicago, remixed by Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets in Providence, and remastered by Bill Skibbe at Third Man Mastering in Detroit.
The band also recognized this opportunity as the perfect chance to resolve any unfinished business they may have had with those three unrecorded “new” songs from 1999 and 2000. During the summer of 2021, the band referenced audio from decades-old videos of that last tour, relearned how to play all of their respective parts, and recorded the three songs live with Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets. Those three lost tunes — “Human Speech,” “Less Messy,” and “Softly Ultra”— formed the Human Speech EP.
Twenty-one years had passed since the last time Lynx played together in the same room, but it only took until halfway through the second attempt at trying to play the first of those three songs to realize that — well, it still didnʼt suck.
The collection will be released by Computer Students™ in their Expanded Reissues series on May 5th, 2023. The two correlative pieces of 12” vinyl will be housed in a sleek, tactile Type-2 aluminum packaging alongside a massive double sided poster. On digital platforms, Lynx and Human Speech will be released separately.