It is ludicrous how incredibly talented Yamantaka// Sonic Titan are. A recent review of their new album UZU pointed out how the very notion of the band should be recipe for failure, but, like salmon swimming upstream, YT//ST push against the current of common sense, forging their own way forward.
The further back Yamantaka // Sonic Titan go into the past for their influences, the further forward into the future their art goes. For UZU, Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood bring on board musical reinforcements for their assault on our senses, drawn from a number of different cultural heritages and bringing their own perspectives to the fold, as on the Iroquois inspired “One”. There is certainly strength in numbers, as the sheer weight of the mighty opener “Atalanta” is enough to pin you down and make you beg for mercy, or as will most likely be the case, make you beg for more.
And you get more in spades on UZU: more drama (“Seasickness Pt1” and “Seasickness Pt1”), more drums (“Hall of Mirrors”), and more Attwood. Her incredible, acrobatic voice is front and centre on UZU, another pleasant surprise in the band’s development. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan may still refer to themselves as a multidisciplinary art collective, but UZU clearly marks them out as masterful, magical musicians, with a depth and dedication to their of vision that should be the envy of their contemporaries.
Whether they realize it or not, this is ballsy music. That it makes up only a portion of the overall Yamantaka // Sonic Titan experience is mind-blowing. They manage, much like Bowie did/does, to capture the essence of the performance and accompanying visuals within the recorded music, so that the experience doesn’t lose anything when isolated to just the soundtrack.
With just two albums under their belt, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan feel absolutely essential in 2013, an antidote to the innocuousness around us. I can’t possibly imagine what they’ll do next. I can hardly wait to hear it.
UZU is out Tuesday, October 29, 2013 on Paper Bag Records in Canada, and via Suicide Squeeze Records in the U.S.