Exposé Online banner

Yagull — Yuna
(Zozemusic ZM 18724, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-02-03

Yuna Cover art

Yagull's music has always been mysterious and beautiful, but with this latest album, Yuna, the two principals, Sasha Markovic (guitar and mandolin) and Kana Kamitsubo (piano) have stripped their sound down to its essence. Previous releases (there are only two) featured additional players on bass, flute, violin, drums, cello, etc. – not on every track but on many – but here every one of the ten tracks is just the two players, with some wonderful wordless vocal contributions on the title track by singer Ayumi Ueda. One might think that it would be samey, but that’s not so at all; the compositional savvy that they pull together is remarkable, and it shines brilliantly on every track. In most cases one or the other starts then the other joins in at an appropriate time later, accenting what is already in progress. The opening cut, “Searching for the Moon,” begins with a piano figure that builds as Markovic joins in on guitar, whereas the follow-on, “Dawn,” starts with gentle guitar foundation to which Kamitsubo adds only accents at first, but by the end of the four minutes the two instruments are fully engaged. There is one interesting exception in the song list written by the members of Black Sabbath, but Yagull takes “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and makes it their own. They also covered it on their first album Films, but here it truly rises to a whole new level. The approach throughout the nine tracks is gentle but assertive, making a powerful statement with a minimal amount of instrumentation. At times one might be reminded of the Lanz and Speer albums from the mid-80s, but here Markovic sticks with acoustic instruments, and it’s Kamitsubo who really rocks it on the grand piano, for example on the center section of “101,” pounding out a heavy rhythm while Markovic turns in a brilliant acoustic lead in the shadows of it. “Mori (Forest Song)” is another that’s truly majestic in its magic and beauty, one of the many high points of this set. This is difficult music to catgorize, maybe chamber or jazz elements play a strong hand, but the classical component shines through brightly as well. Whatever one might call it, it keeps me coming back over and over for repeat spins.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Yagull

More info
http://yagull.bandcamp.com/album/yuna

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Thomas & Foreigners - Bay City – Starting with his tenure in the seminal art-punk outfit Pere Ubu, David Thomas has shown himself to be a lyricist of great talent and singer of acquired taste. For this outing he teams up with a trio...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues