In Iridule, Yugen continue their musical journey began in Labirinto d’Acqua in 2006. While they retain their sound from their first album, here Yugen are incorporating additional styles, including the addition of (female) vocals, courtesy of Elaine Di Falco (Thinking Plauge, Caveman Shoestore). Yugen offer several shorter, vocals-lead songs, which are focused on creating eerie and odd textures and atmospheres, rather than presenting a tune.There’s a pack of guest musicians on here, including the lineup of Thinking Plague: Dave Kerman (also of 5UU’s, U Totem, Present and others), Mike Johnson and Dave Wiley (also of Hamster Theater) and the aforementioned Elaine Di Falco.
If I had to pick a track from here to represent this album’s sound the bet, I’d probably pick out the second piece, The Scuttle Of The Past Out Of The Cupboards. It starts out in their usual highly energetic commotion fashion with notes flying all over the place, seemingly out of touch with each other (but really not), breathing with what may seem like a sense of freedom and perhaps even anarchy, but in fact very controlled and calculated. They later on then slow down and descend into a slower and quieter segment, an ambient section conjuring bizarre sounding vibes, eventually going back to the original musical palate that started the piece.
The Yugen musical brand of “organized chaotic chamber rock” is still at play here, with the same livelihood, charm, challenging counterpoints and angularities. The compositions are intense, sounding as if coming from a disturbed mind, which I can relate to easily in my case. While the notes seem to head everywhere and spread all over the place, I take pleasure in listening to them and “piecing them all together” and figure out the theme and order of each piece. I find myself thrilled and in awe of the skill and proficiency of the playing as well as of the compositional construction and layering of the instruments. Also of note is the clarity of the recording and how well each instrument is heard in these high-density notes traffic. However, Yugen also plays a more refined, minimalistic and calmer music in several tracks, yet those are chilling and peculiar. Those pieces are the ones mentioned above with Elaine Di Falco’s singing and they provide a short respite from the high intensity levels. Cloudscape, which closes the album, is somewhat different with its subtler approach, diminished intensity and higher accessibility.
A dense album, Iridule is not easily digested (much like their two previous albums), but provides a rewarding listen once fully absorbed. Aside from loving their brand of controlled madness and organized chaos, I am highly impressed with the punctuality and proficiency of the playing, the clarity of the recording and the intricacy of the compositions.
Yugen - Cloudscape