hubcap castanets: joe murray on yol

August 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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yol – everyday rituals (self-released download)

yol - er

In the week I’m listening to this new yol release I’ve also been trying to learn about the art of Flamenco through a series of YouTube videos, records and documentaries.  Two very separate worlds perhaps?  But something about the rawness of yol’s music keeps snapping the grey matter and I’m seeing similarities, seeing patterns and tight-locked truths.  Forgive my occasional lapse into Spanish, but this language is perhaps the only one that does yol justice. Vamonos!


Inside the familiar brown paper another yol explosion awaits ignition.

This dirty bomb starts with the gentle rhubarb-rhubarb of a gathered arts crowd; tailing off pretty darn quickly as yol delivers extreme gara (1) – another punch in gut to the chattering classes.

‘fun and games’ packs a huge amount into a 9 minute work-out but still feels prison-lean.  Metal on metal squeal (painful to my delicate shells) rubs up against a pasting table full of kerosene-filled jam jars.  Meanwhile busy hands polish concrete with a wire brush; plastic coffee cups get bowed and a dog toy is gripped tight in a skinny fist.  Many dropped spanners jitter on the deck.  I’ve never been one for virtuosity but there’s a ‘Jaco Pastorious at the food bank’ at work here. yol’s unique vocal technique, honed over each underground detonation, reaches a point of mastery…

Argos catalogue slightly damp, the sound of tears

…  sure you get the arranque (2), a hurgle-hock of Hull’s spluttering, the throaty roar, the snippets of gloomy everyday poetry (the thoughts we dare not voice); but there’s a high-pitched jipio (3) I’ve never heard before – a wetter mouth spitting.

A crowbar dragged on the concrete floor makes gorgeous patterns during ‘fire, this way’.  A partial drone relax takes root like Basinski’s loops? It’s all gritty but comforting like musk scented toe-jam.  That is until an amplified bucket is rattled and the rivets shake loose like aluminium pop-corn.  AAHHHHHHH!

The ‘poundshop gamelan’ takes Balti-bowls and sparkling test tubes full of orange cough medicine and adds the skim from the warped copy of Selected Ambient Works Volume II you left in your ex-partner’s car during the summer.  But you want to know don’t you…does it sound like gamelan?  We’ll it’s certainly got the “Downg. Downg. Downg-downg-downg-downg!” of massive bronze headaches perfectly balanced.

A plastic punk, but not Bertrand fumbles with the Tupperware on ‘faded beach scene’.  A mysterious saga unfolds.  With a nod to last year’s extraction this feedback is sculpted around rounded shapes.  But the sympathetic growls are even more pained; it’s not just the volume or intensity that makes me blink uncomfortably… it’s the unfettered babeo (4) and bloody desperation in how some of these lines are delivered.

Things draw to a zinc-coated climax on the 10 minute tarantas (5) ‘bucket ritual’ Like Chadbourne’s rake the neglected orchestra of the caretaker is rummaged to give us a weather report delivered a golpe (6) like an end of the world address; ecological disaster being a likely extinction lever.

yol is in full-on breakdown mode here.  He shreds and jibbers, snivels the guasa (7) and rails.

It’s just a bit of banter

… becomes a most sinister line, thrown out among the “shiny things” delivered in a slimy moan.  As you’ve probably guessed the ‘accompaniment’ to this hellish screaming kinetic-poetry is a smashed and battered bucket (and occasional tinkly bell) being thoroughly GBH’d.  You don’t need blood when you’re internalising all these bruises and knocks!

yol is mining some pretty dark corners here.  His Jondo (8) might be buried in Hull’s industrial estates but that black seam is as rich and deep as any foul Andalucían deposit.




(1) Gara – literally “claws”; guts, force

(2) Arranque – spontaneous outbursts of uncontrolled emotion that a performer may emit

(3) Jipio – a cry (such asay) used by the singer to find his pitch or simply put into the middle of a song

(4) Babeo – repeated meaningless sounds such as ‘bababa’ in the middle of words

(5) Tarantas – a mining song of free rhythm and by far the hardest to sing, demanding tragic intensity as well as unusual control, both vocal and artistic, in the melisma (5a)

(5a) Melisma – series of notes sung on a single syllable of the coplas. To the ear unaccustomed to it, the sound may seem like unmusical wailing.

(6) A golpe – sung to the rhythm of only a stick hitting the floor, or knuckles on the table

(7) Guasa – joking in bad taste, rustic trickiness

(8) Jondo – describes the emotional depth you have to mine to really get the feeling for Flamenco. You can’t just sing nice, or fake it.  You have to dig deep and feel it, breathe it and ‘be’ it.

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