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(56:10, Zozemusic / Moonjune Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dark 4:11 2. Los Pajaros 3:07 3. East 4:03 4. T Feel 2:47 5. Summerdreamer 3:22 6. Pulse 2:48 7. Sound of M 2:17 8. River 3:14 9. White Room 4:52 10. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 4:05 11. April 3:29 12. Yagull 3:50 13. Mosquita 4:08 14. Distance 6:04 15. Dark Reprise 3:52 LINEUP: Sasha Markovic – guitars, bass; keyboards; percussion; voice With: Josh Margolis – drums Eylon Tushiner – sax Sonia Choi – cello Lori Reddy – flute
Prolusion. The US project YAGULL is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Sasha Markovic. "Films" is the first full length production credited to the Yagull project. The album was released in 2012 through Zozemusic, while the US label Moonjune Records caters for marketing and distribution.
Analysis. The Yagull project is an interesting one in many ways. While marketed and distributed by Moonjune Records, this isn't an album that has too much in common with the greater majority of productions otherwise associated with that label. Not just that its connections with jazz is fairly loose at best, but also because the music on this CD is much more about a ‘less is more’ approach to music than the otherwise often elaborate and fairly challenging material those familiar with Moonjune Records tend to expect. It is a sophisticated album however, and a well made one at that. The main instrument throughout this album is the acoustic guitar, used to create fragile, delicate sonic tapestries. Frail supporting notes and subtly more firm light toned plucked notes are a recurring feature, occasionally in arrangements that sound like they contain additional layers of instrument details too. The mood and atmosphere are melancholic ones, the kind of music I'd describe as twilight or nighttime music. Unobtrusive, pleasant and warmly charming, with clever use of subtle impact notes and occasional use of firmer instrument details to create and maintain a tension that you probably won't even notice on a conscious level at first. Four guest musicians add some flavors to these delicate landscapes. The cello of Sonia Choi adds a dark, mournful touch when used, the sax of Eylon Tushiner a careful jazz tinge, and the flute of Lori Reddy gives the songs more of a pastoral overall expression. Occasionally I found myself thinking that these songs were perhaps closer to chamber music too, so I assume that at least some of these compositions are created with an approach directly or indirectly influenced by classical music, which may also be the reason for why these soundscapes maintain a high level of interest despite lacking stark contrasts or other elements usually present to maintain nerve and tension. Among all these delicate, careful instrumental journeys, I was personally most fascinated with the cover of Black Sabbath's ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’. While it may be difficult to imagine that song given a frail, delicate and acoustic arrangement and even more difficult to imagine that the end result would be an interesting listen, Sasha Markovic documents that this is, indeed, possible. Otherwise the longest track on this CD, the six-minute creation Distance, also showcases that Markovic is fully able to create material of a more elaborate kind. Drums, bass, keyboards, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello and flute all combine on this one track to craft a fairly delicate affair, but with more complex arrangements and interwoven instruments, resulting in a song rather different in character to the other ones present.
Conclusion. "Films" is a production that explores careful, delicate compositions revolving around the acoustic guitar as the main instrument, sometimes supplemented by additional instruments, but all the time with an emphasis on moods and atmospheres of a careful nature. A delicate album of the kind that you might listen to after dark has fallen, an introspective recording that invites to careful reflections, if you like. There are elements from both folk and classical music present, a few jazz-tinged details appear now and then too, but ultimately this is a CD less about style and more about atmosphere, as I regard it, and if fragile instrumental compositions revolving around the acoustic guitar sounds like something you might enjoy, this is a CD I suspect you would find rewarding.
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