EP Review: Yanimal – Yanimal EP

Editor's Review
  • EP Review: Yanimal - Yanimal EP - 6.5/10
    6.5/10

Summary

Yanimal is a self titled debut EP which mixes sounds found in nature with pounding synth-lines. The result is at times captivating at others repetitious.

6.5/10
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Yanimal is the latest project of a synth player originally from Germany, who has spent the last decade on the London underground scene. During that time he has played  keys and and synth in a number of bands including Dead Kids and I.R.O.K as well as turning his hand to production. His self titled debut EP is a five track affair which aims to recreate the experience of putting on parties in the woods, “bringing together  the soundscapes offorest and heavy electronic music.” The record constitutes an experimental approach to minimalist electronica, at times captivating, at others a little too sparsely repetitive.

‘Spirit Molecule’ is the opening track and it introduces the recurrent motif of the EP, a prominent synth line which propels the song as other parts build and fade around it. The accompanying bleeps and percussive noises offer some counterpoint which helps to retain the interest of the listener. There is some development in the ascending lines of the track which weave in and out but the anchor of the song is it’s steady pulse. The accompanying video shows Yanimal as he travels around India trying unsuccessfully to find work. Having failed to gain employment he turns to the spiritual plane and things start to work out. The aim towards enlightenment could also have some chemical connotations, given that Spirit Molecule is the term coined by scientific researcher Rick Strassman for DMT. Certainly the pounding synths have a slight element of narcotic possibility to them.

‘4-25’ stays in a similar vein, albeit with a more obvious inclusion of sonic elements taken from nature. There is also a sample of some tribal sounding vocals which are blended in pretty well. This track has a little more edge to it, the tone darker and more insistent. There is almost a hint of tenebrous euphoria as it progresses; a ratcheting up of intensity before the gentler fade out.

There is a somber tone to the third track which has, a ridiculously long title consisting mostly of symbols. Elongated notes give it an almost Lynchian air before the ubiquitous thud of synths is brought in alongside some interesting vocal samples and occasional bird sounds. This track feels as if it could function as a score for a chase scene. The blend of natural sonics is done subtly and works quite well here.

‘Dunkelziffer’ which translates as dark figure is suitably brooding and claustrophobic. The song is probably also a nod to the German outfit of the same name who formed in the wake of ‘Can’ splitting up. The circularity of the percussion and the slightly off kilter mix would appear to confirm the influence of Jaki Leibzeit’s rhythmic sensibility. Final track ‘Etranger Je T’Embrasse’ rounds things off with another stark beat that segues into relatively upbeat keyboard sections. It might be the most minimal track on offer but it does have a number of sections which flow reasonably well into one another. The economical approach deployed allowing each part space to breathe. 

Overall Yanimal makes for a somewhat uneven listen which does work in parts but lags a little in others. These tracks are often denser and more complicated than they appear on first listen  so are worth giving some time. At their peak they have a highly atmospheric, filmic quality, while elsewhere they risk sounding a little like a hammy eighties synth pastiche.

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