Gregory Taylor * YYYY



The sticker on this 2CD release on K. Leimer’s Palace Of Light label tells us we’re dealing with a “1970s German/crypto-Javanese chill-out room hybrid cross that recalls the pioneering works of Edgar Froese, Suzanne Cianni, and Michael Hoenig.”
The description sort of confused me: I did not know what to expect exactly. It also attracted me, especially because of the ‘crypto-javanese’, and also because I already was familiar with Gregory Taylor‘s previous album Randstad.

Ever since he remembers, Taylor has been fascinated by the sound of the Javanese Gamelan orchestra. The percussive sound of this fascinating ensemble of instruments is present throughout his work, though perhaps not in its authentic setting.
Even more so on this set of six long tracks (all of them over 20 minutes, up to half an hour), where he ‘pursues the connection of the Javanese musical tradition’ with his love for the ‘practitioners of step sequencers.’ The idea for this originated when he completed Step By Step’, a book on the subject of step sequencers using Max/MSP.

It is a fascinating combination of different sound worlds: the organic and bright sounds of the Gamelan gongs and bells are outside of a time frame – not related to a specific musical period – while the synth and sequencer sounds are clearly referring to the groundbreaking era of 70s electronics. But not too literally (to my relief): Gregory Taylor doesn’t just reconstruct the step-sequencer based music of the ancestors but creates a new sound-world using (more or less) the same techniques.
That is why the music on this album is not ‘retro’ (as was my first association reading the sticker), but a fascinating step forward.

In case you may wonder: according to the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, Retinue refers to ‘a group of people who help and who travel with an important person.




I have no clue who is/are behind this weird ‘band’ named YYYY. The bio tells us that it’s an ‘anonymous techno duo from Buenos Aires active since 2013‘, with releases (mostly 12″ and EP’s: this is their first full album) on various labels and various styles, ranging from Techno, Industrial to Ambient, Drone. El Tamaño De Mi Silencio (‘The Extension Of My Silence’) focuses on the latter, even though it is highly cinematic, ranging from calmly romantic to fiercely distorted. The album is “inspired by the landscapes of eternal prairies of the Argentinian Pampa, where poets and troubadours like Facundo Cabral or Atahualpa Yupanqui have roamed for centuries.” The soundscapes are as fascinating as the Argentinian Pampa is (I assume), and as colourful as the album cover. Most of the sounds, including percussion and effects, are derived from manipulating the human voice, though hardly ever recognisable. The twelve tracks are gaplessly sequenced, which means this album can best be listened in one continuous session, in the order presented. (Or two sessions to be exact, since El Tamaño De Mi Silencio is released as a vinyl album on Marco Shuttle’s EERIE records label.)

YYYY offers an album full of vaguely familiar yet ‘unheimische’ soundscapes (couldn’t find a better fitting word). YYYY obviously does not care about fads and fashions in ambient/electronic music: they tell their own tale, using their own musical language. A fresh tale that makes you feel at home immediately – even though this ‘home’ might look like the one on the cover.

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