Yamantaka Sonic Titan

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

YT // ST (2011), 7.5/10 (mini)
Uzu (2013), 6/10
Dirt (2018), 4.5/10

Formed in 2007 in Montreal by Asian-American performance artists AlaskaB and Ruby Kato Attwood (both former members of Lesbian Fight Club), the art collective Yamantaka // Sonic Titan recorded one of the most original contributions to East-West musical fusion in the new century, the mini-album YT // ST (Psychic Handshake, 2011). Ruby Kato Attwood on vocals, Alaska B on drums, John Ancheta on bass, Shub Roy on guitar and Brendan Swanson on keyboards are far from virtuoso musicians, but the whole unleashes an eclectic portfolio of post-psychedelic music. In just six minutes Reverse Crystal - Murder Of A Spider manages to morph from a baroque keyboard motif to a psychedelic black hole. The influences, however, stretch beyond acid-rock: Queens evokes the prog-rock style of Art Bears, replete with operatic Dagmar Krause-esque vocals and Martian rhythms, and Hoshi Neko harks back to vintage, sensual, Japanese pop. The intellectual overtones of the other pieces are brushed aside for A Star Over Pureland, something in between a pulverizing hard-rocking Jimi Hendrix-ian jam and a satanic version of a Red Crayola freak-out. This segues into another loud distorted acid trip, Crystal Fortress Over the Sea of Trees, with jazzy keyboards and thundering rhythm. (Translation by/ Tradotto da Gianfranco Federico)

Formati nel 2007 a Montreal dai performer asiatico-americani AlaskaB e Ruby Kato Attwood (entrambi membri passati del Lesbian Fight Club), il collettivo artistico áYamantaka // Sonic Titan registr˛ uno dei contributi pi¨ originali alla fusione di musica orientale e occidentale del nuovo secolo, il mini-album YT // ST (Psychic Handshake, 2011). Ruby Kato Attwood alla voce, Alaska B alle percussioni, John Ancheta al basso, Shub Roy alla chitarra e Brendan Swanson alle tastiere sono lungi dall'essere musicisti virtuosi, ma insieme producono un eclettico compendio di musica post-psichedelica. In soli sei minuti Reverse Crystal - Murder Of A Spider riesce a trasformarsi da una melodia barocca per tastiera a un buco nero psichedelico. Le influenze, per˛, si estendono oltre l'acid-rock: Queens evoca lo stile prog-rock degli Art Bears, riempita di parti vocali operatiche a lÓ Dagmar Krause e ritmi marziali, e Hoshi Neko rimanda al sensuale pop vintage giapponese. I sovratoni intellettuali degli altri brani vengono spazzati via da A Star Over Pureland, qualcosa tra una polverizzante jam hard-rock di Jimi Hendrix e una versione satanica del freak-out dei Red Crayola. Questo brano prosegue in un altro trip acido distorto a tutto volume, Crystal Fortress Over the Sea of Trees, con tastiere jazz e ritmo martellante.

The album contains excerpts from their "drag-rock opera" 33, first performed in 2012.

Uzu (Paper Bag, 2013) is a Magma-like rock opera that takes place on the planet Pureland. The singer intones the soaring hymn of Atalanta over simple piano chords, and the melody segues into the magniloquent and stately Whalesong. The album continues with this shocking juxtaposition of moods: Lamia borders on doom-metal, Windflower is a gentle folkish lullaby, Hall of Mirrors unleashes ferocious distorted garage-rock, Sea Sickness Pt 1 is a delicate piano lied but Sea Sickness Pt 2 is a galopping and deafening synth-pop number. One turns hare-krishna hypnosis into a hysterical apotheosis that leads to the melancholy finale of Saturn's Return. The album conflates a tradition that began with Who's Tommy, peak with Pink Floyd and perhaps started declining after Dream Theater.

Ruby Kato Attwood and guitarist John Anchet left in 2014, replaced by vocalist Joanna Delos Reyes, guitarist Hiroki Tanaka and bassist Brandon Lim, leaving Alaska B as the conceptual force behind the project. The Buddhist-themed concept Dirt (2018) suffers from the lineup changes. The songs tend towards the emphatic end of the pop spectrum in a vein similar to Jim Steinman's grandiose pop muzak but without the poignancy. The grandiose metal of Dark Water and Tawine lacks focus, swagger for the sake of swagger, and the soaring melody of Yandere is drowned in excessive arrangements.

Alaska B also composed the score to the film Through Black Spruce (2018).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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