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Yak - Quest for the Stones CD (album) cover





3.91 | 102 ratings

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4 stars Yak is back. I now, corny! After reading the recent reviews (both the 5 and 3 star ones) as well as reminiscing on the quality of their previous release, the eventful 2008 'Journey of the Yak', I went out to add this to my purchases, pretty confident in nailing another winner. Just to witness a 2 track album that runs 45 minutes was enough to get me enthused further. Yak remains the brainchild of composer and keyboard maestro Martin Morgan, ably supported by drummer Dave Speight and bassist Gary Bennett. Morgan is a virtuoso who can handle a wide variety of keys but what makes him somewhat original is his use of an electric guitar patch that gives his ivories a powerful tone. He also uses a flute patch to great effect. Comparisons to Genesis (in its instrumental packaging) as well as Camel is utterly founded and unashamedly so. Reliant on synthesizers, piano, organ and that guitar solo sound, Morgan really gives the production a full and meaty palette, well anchored by the more than able rhythm section.

The first epic, the 23 minute 'Quest for the Stones', opens on a soundtrack-ish tangent, very orchestral and sorrowful, then shuffles along majestically, cresting and diving then swooping around for another loop, keeping things intense and interesting throughout. There are no gratuitous exhibitions of technical prowess, instead relying on emotional impact and symphonic tolerance, evident on the elegant piano passages that litter the arrangement. Bennett's bass rolls alongside like a true partner in crime. Old school prog chock full of nostalgic winks and nods, bubbly synthesized passages that soar, scream and wallow on multiple levels, exuding a strong audacity and flowing change.

The second and final track is an outright classic as 'Veils of Aeternum' is probably closer to vintage Steve Hackett, very propulsive and bright, loaded with a ton of solos that sound like the Hacker, slippery and tone conscious. Some cool bass slapping from Bennett that comes from out of nowhere, always challenging and never boring. Flute frills and pastoral pools of reflection add to the mystery.

Not overtly long by any stretch (pun intended), the album has a fine flow and is perfect reflective instrumental prog. They reinvent nothing, nor do they claim to aspire to anything else , only improving a style that has had a lot of staying power over the decades. The cover art is quite humorous as one can clearly detect a mighty knight in flashy armor, sitting atop his trusted yak, whilst refreshing itself in a Sherwoodian brook. A solid follow-up and a worthy addition to any collection.

Short, compact review for a short and compact album.

4 Pursuit of Nuggets

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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