collapsing chair/civilisation: joe murray on yol, neck vs. throat on bandcamp

November 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Yol – Four Live Pieces (recycled tape, self-released, edition of 30 or download)

yol - four live pieces

On the day that Hull win the UK City of Culture bid it seems fitting to be listening to local lad Yol.  I can’t pretend he’s Hull’s most famous son but he’s certainly kicking the Larkin out of the gob-punk scene right now.

Presentation is an issue for Hull’s unofficial town-cryer: Four Live Pieces comes wrapped up in the distinctive Yol graphics featuring a stylised hammer blow to the skull on recycled tape; Yol’s DIY approach is no scenester posturing but an integral part of his no-audience underground footprint.

Things kick off violently with ‘Fire Blackened Fork’.  This is very live (dumb audience chatter audible throughout) as the title suggests, and it’s very liveness seems to have a feedback-loop impact on the incredible power-throating with its sudden glottal stops, lubricated with mucous as thick as Swarfega.   The gentle spanner tinkling in the background seems to add to the barely restrained aggression of the howls, not temper it with either prettiness or diversion.  But this is no formless screaming at a wall.  And it’s here the real theme seems to emerge.  Where earlier Yol releases appear to voice his own frustrations and daemons these brief pieces inhabit other fuming bodies: the opportunist vandal, the frustrated chippie and the black murderous jealousy of the cuckold. But more of that later…

‘Vocal Triptych’ leads us towards somewhat straighter poetry…albeit delivered via strangulated psychodrama.  Words are stumbled over, repeated or left hanging with ‘plosives showering sparks off the brickwork.  The line ‘long arms of a strangler’ is re-cycled from earlier Yol jams and rammed right up in the audience’s face.  A cough splutters into a trouser-staining strain, ‘ning, ging, dip’ as collapsible chairs are hurled around the room.

For meInternship’ is the key performance on this here tape…and possibly a skeleton key entry into the dark world of Yol.  The narrative has two conflicting voices; one deferential, even a little snivelling ‘excuse me’, the other a Mr Hyde of hatred, ‘DO YOU WANT TO SHARE A NEEDLE?’  I think it was the mighty Stan Lee/Jack Kirby axis that came up with the Incredible Hulk to explore the untamed, brutish side to mankind.  The trick Yol has turned is to take this Yahoo Hulk and transplant it into the damp and bland world of Northern Britain – 2013.  This is no Marvel Universe magic realism but the dark perverted land of a bent cop, conflicted priest or overworked teacher.  It’s a post-Saville world where celebrity corrupts and no one can really trust each other.  Yol gives a voice to the bitter and bleak, the misplaced righteousness and revenge that most of us keep buttoned up tight.  The inner struggle is played out in vivid crimson, choked out, spat into the gutter and stamped on with spite. (EDIT: watch this performance on YouTube. You really must.)

Blimey.  The darkness can really grab hold of you if you let it.  Phew…deep breath and turn the tape over.

Side two is taken up with the longer piece ‘Sarcastic Lager Cans’.  It sounds like Yol is breaking out of a wooden egg with rusty garden shears and sheaves of bubble wrap (?). Amplified objects melt into the snot-nosed screams as another character, displaying ‘neighbourhood watch logic’ takes up the story.  His raging against imagined foes strikes at the heart of the argument for the middle England Nazi.  It’s always someone else’s fault: the immigrants, the kids from the estate and in this case, the tourists.  Yol plays this loss of control perfectly moving from pleading to incandescent rage over the course of 11 minutes.  This tape is the perfect soundtrack to those fateful micro-moments when the mask of decency and civilisation slips and animalistic rage arrives slobbering into the light of day looking for a victim.

You can check this all out on Bandcamp, download it for nowt or, do the right thing and drop Yol £4 and get the tape. There’s not many left so be sure to get cracking…free hiss!

Editor’s note: here might be a good place to mention that Zellaby Award winning album of the year NECK VS. THROAT by Yol and Miguel Perez is now available for download on that Bandcamp along with its sequel, volume 2, which I resurrected fencing flatworm recordings in order to release.  Both are absolutely essential listening and I urge you to grab hold if you haven’t done so already.  Whilst you are at it, you should also download Miguel’s drone ritual The Three Cycles of the Incantation, recorded as The Will of Nin Girima, because it will alter your head.

neck vs throat

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