Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Queens

Whenever someone finds out what I do the first question they ask me is what my favorite type of music is. Like clockwork my mind immediately drifts into the epic world of all the music I’ve consumed and by the time I come back down to earth I always say the same thing – I like everything.

Look at my record cases, you’d think I was tasteless…” – G.O.V.

And it’s pretty much the only honest answer I can give. However, there is one genre that’s pretty much like a drug to my mind and that’s psychedelic rock. I usually have to dig back to the 60’s to get my fixes hallucinogenic drug inspired tunes but in my latest trip to Arizona one of the restaurant manager put me on to my latest muse, the two girl psych-opera collective Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.

Epic, adventurous, rock & roll, emotional, atmospheric, disturbing, powerful, romantic, challenging, painful, beautiful titanic. There are moments where I get reminded of bands like Supertramp and they go off to who knows where, it’s hard to describe their sound but listening to songs like Queens completely distort my senses, I know I’m listening to music but the experience is borderline visual, I recommend listening with good headphones or in your car…

The key to Yamantaka’s sound lies in their uninhibited admixture of East and West, their commingling of the band’s ancestral musics with more contemporary genres to explore the complications and contradictions of dual identity. By simultaneously inhabiting a variety of cultural forms, the band shatters the comfort with which colonialist cultures have appropriated the image and art of Asian and First Nations peoples to assemble a wholly new hybrid form. This is Noh-Wave, and it draws from both pop and J-pop, British prog and Japanese psychedelia, punk rock and Iroquois core, black metal and Chinese Opera, noise music and Noh theatre. The resultant sounds could be seductively soft (as heard on “Hoshi Neko”) or electrifyingly loud (as heard on “Reverse Crystal // Murder of a Spider), but they’re invariably the stuff of a visionary new approach to popular music. –GL 

Word. In the age of nu-disco, Bon Ivers, James Blake’s and Chromeo’s it’s ironic that the most bad ass sound I’ve heard in a long time comes from two ladies, fresh. If you ever hear of them performing anywhere near you I highly recommend making your way there. The shows are complete with art installations and enough performance art to make you question your whole culture. Rock on Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, rock on.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Queens