Monday, October 18, 2010

IKE YARD – Nord : experimental electronics

Review by Cthulberg

Following in the surge of bands reuniting after several decades, Ike Yard is no different and duly presents the first new material in 28 years. Ike Yard's cult-status-approved, self-titled album was released on Factory America in 1982 and surely must be one of the most austere and morose electronic records released. Should any of you unfamiliar with the previous output of Ike Yard, it mostly consists of barren soundscapes of modular synthesis basslines, sparse guitars and oddly paced syncopated drums with little or no deviation. The vocals are presented with a complete and utter absence of zeal and vigor, but still speaks to you at a level several times the recording one. The very essence of no-wave then.

Being a person to intensely enjoy such music I was blown away by the news that the "1980-1982 Collected" compilation on Acute (2006) was soon to be followed by first a 10 inch on Phisteria called "Öst" and then by a full-length CD on Phisteria/Desire. On "Nord" Ike Yard are one member short (Fred Szymanski) and is currently made up of Kenneth Compton, Michael Diekmann and Stuart Argabright, who I guess do way more programming now than in the previous incarnation of the band. I got to thinking that after reuniting in 2007 the guys must’ve really felt that they could add to their music rather than detract in order for them to get back in the studio and record. I’m seldom apprehensive listening to new music, but I have to admit that before listening to this CD for the first time I was mentally prepared to be hugely disappointed.

Well, I wasn’t. This entire CD, while in many ways different in approach to the original Ike Yard, still feels extremely familiar in all the good ways. There is a lot of warmth on this record and a few of the songs herein rival the impact their first album had on me all those years ago. Also, "Nord" is more of a varied experience and has more in common with Ike Yard’s debut "Night After Night" (12inch - 1981) in that is not an exclusively electronic record. There’s even the odd acoustic guitar and some pained vocals here and there without it sounding out of place. The whole album flows smoothly from start to finish with some tracks really standing out – Traffikers, Oshima Cassette, Citiesglit and Mascochistic. Desire could have charged ten times the amount for the CD and these four tracks would still have made the purchase worth it to me. In short, Nord is a really, really good album and certainly one worthy of following up the cult-status attained by the band nearly three decades ago. Now for some concerts, eh?

Denmark/USA, CD album, Phisteria/Desire, 2010


01 Traffikers

02 Mirai

03 Masochistic

04 Oshima Cassette

05 Metallic Blank

06 Beautifully Terrible

07 Type N

08 Citiesglit

09 Shimmer

10 Orange Tom

11 Robot Steppes

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