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Friday, April 30, 2010

Yuganaut - Sharks (Engine, 2010) ****

The music on this album is as hard to classify as its art work. The trio consists of Tom Abbs on violin, cello, didjeridoo and tuba, Geoff Mann on trumpet, drums and percussion, and Stephen Rush on trombone, Fender Rhodes piano, Moog synthesizer and toys. All three are not only multi-instrumentalists, they are also multidisciplinary, playing active roles in film making, theater and dance. This context almost naturally leads to a music in which sound and dramatic effect play key roles, pushing the instrumental prowess to the second position. Instruments exist to create sound effects, more so than express individual feelings. The emotional listening experience is hence more the result of the overall sound impression, rather than the expressive power of the individual soloists.

And like in many risky endeavors like this one, it works or it doesn't, Some pieces are fantastic (in the sense that I like them a lot): uncanny, dark, bizarre, attractive, scary, others are rather bland (in the sense  that I do not like them at all): and these are mostly the pieces in which electronics and synth play a leading role.

Luckily, the "fantastic pieces" ("Breakthrough/Zhu", "Fade to Frenzy", "Landfill/Sharks", "Lost in the Field", "Again, and Sweetly", "Local Motive") are in the majority, with the not so fantastic being the shortest and in the minority ("See Saw", "Vger","Wrenchwork"). But then you listen again, and again, and you come to realise you need it all to experience the music's real power.

Be ready to be thrown out off kilter : this is different, but strangely inviting, and fascinating throughout.

Listen and download from ESP disks.

Watch "Missing Limbs" - a piece from one of their previous album "This Musicianship".

© stef