Byron Au Yong — Yiju
(Present Sounds PS 1201, 2012, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-03-27In Issue #39 I reviewed Dennis Rea's Views from Chicheng Precipice, which came out on Moonjune back in 2010. That album presented a Westerner's take on avant-garde music with influences from the Far East. In some ways, Yiju is the flip side of that coin: a Chinese-American's take on Western avant-garde, using mostly acoustic instruments, including several from Chinese tradition. There's more of a feeling of an academic tradition here than Rea's jazz background. Asian percussion backs most of the tracks, and several feature vocals, sometimes with words (in English and Chinese), sometimes not. Several of the tracks feature a variety of gong and other cymbal sounds, female voices interweaving with lullaby-like melodies (one track is titled "Lullaby"), and scraping noises from a string bass. But the mood is basically meditative, so the result is not abrasive. Overall, it's interesting enough, as long as you're not put off by the lack of structure, but at 23 minutes, Yiju seems more like a sketchbook for ideas that will someday result in a fully realized statement than a statement on its own.
Related artist(s): Byron Au Yong
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more