FAME Review: Yagull - Kai
Yagull - Kai



Moonjune Records - MJR067

Available from Moonjune Records

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

If I'm intuiting things correctly, if the order of rhetoric and structure clues on the reverse of Yagull's latest, Kai, demonstrates sub-worded indications, should my if-y familiarity with semiotics serve somewhat correctly, then Yagull is now centered in the duet of Sasha Markovic and pianist Kana Kamitsubo…with a board of rather distinguished sit-ins: Beledo (gtrs., lute, bass), Dewa Budjana (gtrs.), one of the phenom modern drummers, Marko Djordjevic, and more. Three years ago, in Films (here), we came to understand Markovis as a chamber classsicalist at heart, and Kamitsubo brings that into another dimension. At times she distills notes of purest crystalline perfection, choices reminiscent of Satie, Ferrante & Teicher, and that music instructor across the lane who always manages to breathe new life into old traditions…and then she starts breaking into jazz territory, introducing subtle discursive diversions, hints and blurts of near atonality, and more, just before looping back to august beauty and autumnal shades.

Markovic's work on guitar complements all that beautifully, or rather: the two complement one another at all times, even when soloing. No surprise, then, when one discovers the writing chores were quite democratic, almost everything collaborative. Of the two, though, he's predominantly the more trad player here, so much so that one will recall Jan Akkerman's early solo work, though we all know Jan could never hold back the jazzy riffs and neither does Markovic. That's where the little ol' surprise comes in: the other day, I was once again listening to one of the coolest box sets ever issued—Free's glorious Songs of Yesterday (wherein the hideously inadequate 1971 Live trip-up is finally rescued, taking up the entirety of one of the five CDs)—and pining for someone to stumble across that esteemed old combo. So, what do I hear in track six of Kai? Wishing Well! Ahhhhhhhhh. And then, following it, Deep Purple's Burn! My my my. Both follow in form the restrained sophistications and countryside mellifluity of the rest of the disc, and Sound of M is in fact rustic, Jackson Kincheloe's harp beckoning the cows and sheep home as the sun sets, something the great ol' Windham Hill label would've carried.

A bit too often, musicians producing their own work is a very big mistake, as they tend to coddle their internal weaknesses and gravitate to playing endless series of Flying Dutchman riffs (think: Buck Dharma's solo LP and many many others) but not so with Sasha Markovic. He tackled the top executive duty, recording and engineering the entire affair as well, and his aesthetics are masterfully opaque of any distractions in personality whatsoever, so void of pretense and self-indulgence that one swears he's lifting from elder catalogs for the recital…but no. More, one cannot help but also understand that Kamitsubo's as responsible for this marvelous suspension of ego in favor of art; every stave and measure sighs the fact with contentment. Thus, this release stands as one of the MoonJune label's most satisfying ventures outside the parameters of its own distinctive wont.

Track List:

  • North (Kamitsubo / Markovic)
  • Dark (Markovic / Kamitsubo / Thomas)
  • Heiwa (Markovic / Kamitsubo)
  • Blossom (Markovic / Kamitsubo)
  • Mio (Markovic / Kamitsubo)
  • Wishing Well (Rodgers / Kirke / Yamauchi / Kossoff / Bundrick)
  • Burn (Blackmore / Lord / Paice / Coverdale)
  • Sound of M (Markovic / Kamitsubo)
  • Z-Parrow (Sasha Markovic)
  • Kai (Markovic / Kamitsubo)
  • Omniprism (Markovic / Kamitsubo / Beledo)
  • Oyasumi (Markovic / Kamitsubo)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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