Saturday, March 17, 2018

YAK - Bardo

YAK make music where it seems like nothing much is happening, yet somehow it conquers your attention.

Or maybe I should say that it rewards your attention.  The more you open yourself up to the neo-classical hybrid of electric and acoustic drone spells, the broader your perspective--it's a cerebral spreading... Somehow a sparseness nurtures focus. And the closer I listen to a cello, the more startling the violin's entry becomes....the closer I keen in on the violin, my ear starts to pick up the cymbals...and the wider I open my ears in general, the more attuned and sensitive they become to the subtler dressings of synthetic sounds...

"Obelus" may be one of the shortest tracks on this Detroit trio's latest album, Bardo, and yet it is exemplary of their sensibility for creating a spacious sound, with tones tiding in or tiding out individually but never intersecting. "Missing Stimuli" is almost gossamer in its drift, nearly evaporating at points before reaccumulating, manifesting the illusion for the listener of thinking and maybe believing that their own slowly-rhythmic breathing is entangled in the essence of the swooning instruments. 

YAK are utilizing classical instruments, typically the purview of a theater, something of the old world, something tangible and familiar, and sliding through some an ethereal curtain into the realms of the intangible. It's curious how the absence of rhythm, the absence of a melody, an absence of a hook or a downbeat, can cause you to hyper-focus on what is being said amid the sparseness. And it starts to create the effect of a lucid-dream state, where you don't know if you've quite passed into a state of reverie and elastic consciousness, or if you're still firmly present in your living room, your office, or wherever else you may "be" while listening... It's not that this explicitly experimental "takes" you somewhere or serves as escapism. But damn it if you don't start to imagine...what's beyond and what's lies in between....

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