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You Me & Us - 2014 - "Poesy at Play"

(50:19, ‘Bonobo's Ark’)


1. 0 I (t) A 5:11
2. Masta Builda 6:55
3. Too Many Answers 7:06
4. Madamme 0 3:30
5. I Don't I Can't 6:10
6. F-Poem 4:11
7. It Has Just Begun 5:09
8. Da-I-Na-Ma-I-To/Deta 12:07


Yumi Hara – piano; vocals
Chris Cutler (ex-Henry Cow) – drums
Daevid Allen (ex-Gong) – guitars; vocals

Prolusion. The UK based project YOU ME & US is one of multiple projects involving composer and musician Yumi (hence ‘You Me’ in the outfit’s name) Hara, a UK based artist who has been rather active recording, performing and releasing material in the last decade or thereabouts. "Poesy at Play" is a live album featuring material performed at various locations in Japan on a tour in 2013, and is also one of the last recordings made by the late Daevid Allen.

Analysis. For a progressive rock-oriented crowd, this production will come across as one languishing towards the outer edges of the progressive rock universe, at least for the greater majority of those people. The musicians involved do have quite the pedigree in progressive rock circles obviously, but having a background in a style of music doesn't always mean that the musicians will stay within that comfort zone. As such, one might describe this production as one that will challenge musicians and fans alike to step outside of that field. As one would expect, Allen does add quite a few psychedelic textures to the material here. Not always, and not on all occasions, and rarely completely throughout the entire length of a song, but odd, floating textures with a clear psychedelic presence are indeed an often encountered presence on the album. Yumi Hara and Chris Cutler have a stronger tendency to bring in elements with a closer orientation towards jazz and avant-garde music, and the description “psychedelic jazz” popped into my mind here and there throughout the album. I might add that the jazz in question appears to be improvised much more than planned, and more often than not of what I'd describe as a free form nature at that. Allen tags along on a few such excursions too, and some of the passages at hand here are safely inside the realm of the highly challenging and chaotic due to that. On quite a few of these tracks words rather than music are in the limelight however. The album is called "Poesy at Play" for a reason, and on the cuts where this is a dominant or otherwise visible presence my perception is that this aspect does have something of a stunt poetry vibe to it. If not in the actual words spoken then at least in the phrasing, tone of voice and pronunciation. The word improvised is again relevant to the general context. The musicians involved in this project are proven quality artists, and the general quality of this production is on a high level. Just how appealing or not this material is will be a subjective point of view, where what may or may not be improvised and free form oriented escapades will most likely have a lot to say in the audience that finds this album to be one to seek out. On a personal note, I rather associate music of this kind with what you might encounter at some of the more noted art exhibitions.

Conclusion. You Me & Us is a project that, I suppose, has run its course, as Daevid Allen passed away not too many months after this CD was released. Those who desire to own everything he recorded should obviously seek this one out. Otherwise I'd suggest that those who like music described as a meeting of the minds between dark improvised psychedelia, poetry and free jazz should take note of the existence of this particular output.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 4, 2017
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Yumi Hara


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