Yellow6 - Sounds and Moving Pictures
(editions6 / E6:06)
CD / DVD
Yellow6 is a UK guitarist by the name of Jon Attwood. This CD / DVD combo captures highlights from a number of gigs played around Europe in 2011.
A large portion of both discs come from his appearance at the Antwerp Live Looping Festival with the CD version being my preferred as the DVD is essentially a couple of shots of someone playing a guitar very slowly whilst occasionally adjusting some pedals. The rest of the DVD is completed by some gentle, soft focus video work alongside his guitar ambience. It's nice but it's not exactly compulsive viewing
The CD was by far the most satisfying. It feels coherent, even though it's mixed from several live shows, and more purposeful. Musically it consists simply of Attword's guitar and pedals developing gentle melodies filled with drift and wash. It's very much of the Labradford / Stars of the Lid school of ambience and that's no bad thing. It's been a while since I listened to this sort of guitar ambience and I've spent two enjoyable evenings in it's company.
Y.E.R.M.O. - Collision Zone
(Idiosyncratic Records idcd001)
I don't know what the initialism stands for but I do know that the individual constituents that make up Y.E.R.M.O. are sound artist Yannick Franck and guitarist Xavier Dubois, both currently operating out of Belgium.
The 5 tracks of muscular dark ambient drone and clatter that make up 'Collision Zone' were originally intended to accompany the work of visual artists Nadine Hilbert and Gast Bouschet at the current (2009) Venice Biennale.
Shorn from their accompanying visuals and context it is often difficult for the music to retain it's coherence and it's validity but 'Collision Zone' is still an interesting listen. The pace is measured and the swirls of sound, along with the occasional industrialised rhythms, contort the music into some interesting shapes.
I'm not the worlds biggest fan of dark ambient as I tend to find it a little one dimensional. The 'dark' aspect seems to preclude practitioners from adding any swathes of colour to their palette. This is, to an extent, the case here also but fortunately the pairing have had the ability and the foresight to vary the shades of 'dark' that they've used and have created a valid addition to the genre.
Y.E.R.M.O. - From Gold Falls A Bad Rain
(Humpty Dumpty Records HMPTY009)
I've heard an album by this duo of Yannick Franck and Xavier Dubois before. It was a good, but not genre-defining, slice of dark ambient soundscaping. This new one, stylistically is much the same but is, on the whole, a distinctly more satisfying experience. A single track somnambulist and isolationist drone piece 'From Gold...' slowly builds from a tense and foreboding slow throb with the addition of a series of disconcerting tonal colours that serve not only to increase the tension but to add a palpable air of unease.
Perfect late night drone-work. Recommended.
Yair Yona - Remember
(Anova Music Publishing AN014)
I get one of these type of seedees through the post every couple of years which suits me pretty well as it's not the sort of music I listen to very often. Israeli musician, Yair specialises in very laid back Fahey-esque acoustic guitar rootsy Americana. I really can't listen to this music very often as it doesn't really have a longevity for me but, like I said, it only comes around every so often and so when it does I tend to enjoy it.
Yona is a more than adequate musician and his compositions are lively, intricate and honest with a bonhomie that is hard to resist. The occasional addition of other instruments keeps the album fresh although the full string ending to the final track feels a little out of place after the rest of the album.
If I have any complaints with this album it's that Yona's playing is just too slick, too precise. I like a bit of chaos in my music or snatches of rank amateurism that reveal the human behind the music. That's not really the case here. Everything has a place and is nestled securely within it. You'll admit though that as complaints go that's a very personal one and so I really do recommend that you listen and decide for yourself.