Yadayn – Vloed (Navalorama, 2014)

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“Flood”, what an appropriate title to epitomise my existence at present. I know I’ve been a bit lax with reviews lately but it’s hard keeping on top of new music and submissions and revising for final exams simultaneously, but I’ve finally reached a critical point where I can’t justifiably put off reviewing music any further, so here we are.

Yadayn fills Vloed almost exclusively with the acoustic guitar, each track a building block and another pulse of sound leading up to the core piece of the record, the title track. The opener “Eb” marks the early and quickly fading regression at the start of the album, just a brief warmup to introduce us to the general atmosphere as it thrums to life on shifting miscellaneous sounds, woodwinds assisting delicately folding drone waves before we topple into the much more empowered and lengthily titled “The Night Is Long That Never Finds The Day”. Despite its rather morose title it’s a surprisingly upbeat track that leans heavily on the gorgeous acoustic guitar work that much of this record relies upon. And much like its title it manages to continue spinning out the same riff endlessly across its 6 minute span, unrelenting in its night-time fugue and starting to get rather tedious towards its end.

“Quilt” has a similar timespan but is a little less exuberant and altogether more interesting across its duration. It’s still largely guitar dominated but the tempo has been taken down several notches and there’s a deeper sense of intimacy and a certain closeness that the previous track failed to create. It builds a head towards its epicentre, breaking some of the melancholy in the first phase before collapsing again in the last couple of minutes, choosing to slow-shout the melodies with a certain forcefulness in the strumming before wrapping things up in a delicate finalé, enough catharsis and frustration venting done for one night. And there’s a certain sense of resignation flowing from the delicious sequences of “Zucht” (“Sigh”) as it picks up right where it left off from the previous piece, the same woes coming back round and yet still being dealt with with a smiling face, a certain forced cheeriness clears through some of the minor keys floating in between. That being said it does have a very lightweight and jovial final phase that’s very enjoyable and upbeat.

The title track arrives and it’s the first sign of differing instrumentation we’ve heard since that brief opener some time before. At 12 minutes there’s no question that this is the centerpiece of the album, doubling the running time of the next longest track and more or less bringing the album to a peak in its penultimate position. Opening on soft drone dunes it migrates effortlessly into downtempo guitar lines, something like the resigned calm before the storm, keeping their heads down. And this rumbles on for some time before it all but disappears at the half-way mark, only to pick up again with a little more power and drive afterwards, but it really isn’t until the last few minutes where we begin to see any degree of real scale or breadth as it rises to a thick crescendo of abrasive, erosive distortion, a cleansing and resetting low-fidelity tsunami at long last. Finally that last piece of cancerous and rotting emotion has been expunged in a beautifully violent blowout and we’re ready for closer “Sluimer”; sleep is definitely a welcome reprieve. We’re at peace at last, and the difference in play style and emotional output is palpable, the melodies deflated and lacking the wrought tones of the past; everything’s sparkly and shiny, flowing gorgeously along to a restful and much needed sleep as it evolves from elated picking to careful and gentle, lulling guitar work, although the end itself is a somewhat anomalous spike of critical, piercing instrumentation that is vaguely annoying.

I’m not sure, maybe I just feel burnt out lately and not particularly creatively inspired but this is another album that I think I could easily fall in love with but simultaneously don’t really see the appeal of. The guitar work is excellent and very beautiful but given that it’s alone for so much of the time it feels quite alienating in its morose introspection, despite it’s chilling clarity and intimate setting. It has its moments, absolutely, but I more often find myself listening to singular tracks alone rather than the album as a whole, simply because it’s just too much of too little all in one place.

You can check out the album at Yadayn’s Bandcamp.

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