Monday, 2 January 2017

Yagya "Stars And Dust" (2016)

Days before the new year arrived the Icelandic producer turned in his sixth full length record much to my excitement as immediately took to bandcamp to get my copy. The second post I wrote on this music blog was "Sleepygirls", which was over two years ago! That and "Rigning" have been my go to records for calm and meditative music with downtempo beats and dub baselines that can sooth and clear the mind. The minimalist album cover, open to interpretation, had me excited in hope for more of this sweet ambience, which is what we got.

Initially I was disappointed, hoping for something deep, dense and dreamy the "lightness" of the record threw me off. However with each listen I realized it was essentially the same style, familiarity with that layer of atmospheric density striped back. The result exposes Yagya's wondrous spacial feel for melodies, both in the form of synth strings drifting to and from focus and the inconsequential notes that cut through the atmosphere with intimidate echos on tracks like "The Observable Universe". The unconventional melody style creates a mesmerizing sense of depth as patterns and tunes allude one in the ever murmuring synths, swirling in the void.

The formula is somewhat unchanged. Deep resonating dub baselines stroll with the easy going downtempo beats and a similar selection of instruments layer colors on top. Mostly electronic synths, a few piano sounds, bells and voices make there way in too. There's a slight swirl of atmospheric noise happening subtly in the background, sometimes dialed up on the occasion track. Its this element, shifted in composition, that has been greatly toned down from previous records.

The change gives light to instruments that feel as equally mysterious and illusive, only providing the calming, soothing tone rather than a direct narrative. However that illumination was not previously absent, the melodies were conveyed within the thick atmosphere. It leaves me wondering if it gained or lost anything in this transition. "Stars And Dust" is more of what Ive come to expect, once again with its own pallet that doesn't do much to progress the sound. A solid record for a mood of calm or focus but nothing more.

Rating: 6/10