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Yugen - Iridule CD (album) cover

IRIDULE

Yugen

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.92 | 87 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars So... this is it! Yugen has accomplished the definitive expression of the particular voice that Francisco Zago & co. had been developing since their debut album's release. Yugen's "Iridule" is a must (at least, from where I stand) in any Top 5 prog list of 2010, and not only that, it is a solid reaffirmation of the sort of artistic greatness that Italy has been contributing to the current arenas of RIO and assorted avant-prog trends for the last years. This album bears a meticulously developed epic overtone that enables the band's RIO framework reach levels of magnificence that one can justly expect from a proper progressive masterpiece. This ambition is not only manifested in the compositional endeavors and arrangements present in the tracklist itself, but also in the Parnassus of masters that collaborate in this specific album: various members of Thinking Plague, a historical bass player from Univers Zero who also collaborated in a host of other RIO projects, ex-Stormy Six Tommaso Leddi, Mr. Kerman from 5UU's, an avant-jazz monster like Peter Schmid,... and also the Areknamés leader, who is in charge of some harpsichord interventions here and there. This album is a sonic manifestation of perpetual splendor in the art of noise: the combination of challenging compositions, rich atmospheres, energy and bizarre exquisiteness makes this album an instant classic of RIO and Yugen an equal to its masters (Univers Zero, Present, Henry Cow, Eskaton) and older brothers (Runaway Totem). There are many cases in which a short piece serves as a peculiar prelude to a longer one, starting with the opener 'On the brink', whose minimalistic abstract basis paves a way of growing tension for the powerfully rich 'The scuttle of the past out of the cupboards', which can be described as a playful demonstration of mysterious moods, Dadaistic ambiences and creepy passages, all of them united within a weird yet intelligent musicality. The namesake track is a dreamy song that features soaring woodwinds and synth layers, pastoral acoustic guitar and soft singing by Elaine Di Falco. 'Overmurmur' abruptly settles in and makes things abundantly explosive via a dynamic combination of Crimsonian neurosis and Zappa-esque constant twists fused with your typically Univers Zero-inspired dark chamber-rock. The inclusion of a couple of minimalistic interludes helps the main body to breathe among its inherent tension. 'Scribbled' is a brief interlude on piano-classical guitar-voice that provides a rest before the colorful festival of ordained weirdness that is 'Becchime'. This track lifts off from track 2's demented adventure and recycles it through a more complex architecture. A highlight!! 'Ice' brings peace and calmness once again in a pure manner: you can almost touch the tranquility, but it won't last long: the ruthless logic of mischief, madness and tension returns with infinite vengeance in 'Ganascia', a worthy younger sister of 'Becchime' that actually happens to be less dense than the aforementioned piece. For the couple of 'Thaw' and 'Serial(ist) Killer', the Yugen guys seem to be paying simultaneous tributes to Henry Cow and Thinking Plague; 'Serial(ist) Killer' delivers oppressive dissonances without getting overtly sordid: it is cruel art that is totally obedient to the demands of finesse that art implies in itself. Quite surprisingly, the track that closes down the album is one marked with evocative moods over an extended elaboration of specific motifs: 'Cloudscape' sounds somewhat related to Syrinx due to its combination of ceremonious ambiences and eerie instrumental amalgamations, and also due to the dominant role of the acoustic guitar for the melodic development. On paper, it may sound like an anti-climatic ending, but once you get to know this piece properly after a number of listens, you can suspect that this closer functions as an invocation to emotional repose and spiritual quietness after the revelations of bizarre colors that had dominated the preceding repertoire. Everything is well done and located in the right place for "Iridule": Yugen is a point of reference for excellence and adventure in today's prog world.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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