Yang — Machines
(Vocation Records VOC1527, 2009, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01
Some five or six years ago, French instrumental quartet Yang released their outstanding debut A Complex Nature on Cuneiform, then promptly disbanded, before playing even a single concert. Now they have regrouped and are back with this most welcome, if somewhat belated, follow-up. Bandleader and guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Frederic L’Epée (formerly of Philharmonie, and Shylock before that) and drummer Velodia Brice from the original lineup of Yang are joined by two newer members: guitarist Laurent James and bassist Nico Gomez. Even though L’Epée remains the band’s primary composer, with the new membership their sound has taken on a far more muscular and aggressive flavor, as well as incorporating some diverse trajectories, folk and ethnic elements, and a heaviness that occasionally approaches metal, all the while retaining their Crimsoid influences and technical multi-guitar approach. There are plenty of jazzy moments as well, but they typically give way to a rockier essence in short order, along the way revealing something interesting, melodically engaging and structurally complex, while presenting it in a way that’s completely listenable. All taken, the ten cuts on Machines mark a welcome return for Yang. Hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next installment.
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