"When The Leaves Fall Like Snow" (Album, 2008)
Make Mine Music
I'm not sure where to begin with this... [Pauses for a few moments.] Yes I am: the scale. This is an epic, two-disc, double album of over 120 minutes of Yellow6 ethereal magic, written and recorded in Stokholm, Sweden over six weeks towards the end of last year. Using essentially just a couple of guitars and a copy of Fruity Loops for the (very occasional) beats, Jon Attwood has produced one of his finest albums in a decade of releases.
This really feels like the product of too many nights in isolation in a foreign place (!) which, of course, is precisely what it is. When The Leaves Fall Like Snow is suffused with a reflective and, at times, an almost spectural atmosphere. It creates the same sort of end-of-the-world feeling you get walking empty, silent streets in the winter before dawn. Ever arrived home on foot from a night of clubbing the day before? If you have you'll know exactly the mood this captures. Or, is it the understated score to a hidden world of domestic violence? Or, more simply (and desperately perhaps), the never ending longing for an unrequited love? It could be the soundtrack to any and all of these - at the same time. And this is music for the patient listener too. It's easy to lose all sense of time and space, particularly during disc one where the six tracks have an average duration of more than 12 minutes.
I had difficulty beginning this review as this is one of those works that you must come to in the correct frame of mind. Though quite what you'd call that frame of mind, I'm not too sure. Maybe 'open' best says it. But I've come at this many times over recent weeks and it can either envelop you in a slightly disconcerting, almost overwhelming way or can leave you stone cold. I think that's the power of good music. It connects emotionally, resonnates, for good or bad. Very much a product of the circumstances in which it was created (I stop short of using the word 'inspired' as, somehow, that would seem inappropriate, too 'uplifting'), Katarinahissen is perhaps the perfect summation of the album's various underlying tones. Its gently picked lap steel guitar seems to signal a new dawn rising and the return of hope for better times ahead. It's going to be a challenge for Attwood to top moments like this, but let's hope he doesn't stop trying. 8/10
Rob Dyer (August 2008)
"source:remix" (Remix album, 2002)
It seems hardly fair to simply file this in the Yellow6 page as it's as much a compilation of Endorphin artists as it is a Yellow6 sampler. (In fact I might just set up a copy of this in an Endorphin page too). That's no slight on Yellow6 and I know Jon Attwood wouldn't take it as such, since the objective here is laid bare in the title. Yellow6 has supplied all the source compositions and handed them over to a variety of like-minded projects ranging from Amp to Rothko for them to remix as they see fit.
Not being intimately aquainted with all the original compositions there's not much in the way of comparison that can be done. But I am familiar with many of the invited guests. Perhaps best then to treat this as it comes across - a compilation of those operating in the same ambientesque field but with an underlying sense of collective. Although not in the same genre, I'm reminded of the In The Nursery album Cause and Effect which opened the ITN catalogue to the underground community who stepped in with their own interpretations. The outcome here (as there) is a complete success. Favourite moments include the hitherto unknown Bauri's take on leitmotiv, admittedly a Yellow6 soft spot already, and ::lackluster::'s cover of expressway427. The remainder creates a hypnotically drifting ambience of which Yellow6 would be (and probably is and can be) proud of. 7/10
Rob Dyer (June 2006)
"Music for Pleasure" (Album, 2001)
The lovely packaging for this second full lengther from Leicestershire's Jon Attwood is suitably minimalist, the CD coming in a yellow plastic clam shell with only a small slip of transparency to identify the album beyond the printing on the disc itself.
There's no track listing (one was available online) but anyone who has heard Yellow6 will understand that this isn't a major problem. For Yellow6 is all about instrumental guitar dronescapes and not ten-a-penny pop tunes. Listening to this set of ambient tunes is like laying at the edge of the ocean as the tide comes in. The waves slowly, repeatedly lapping at your body and consciousness, gradually enveloping you, occasionally dragging you into its warm embrace.
There are times when Yellow6's music feels almost too subliminal for its own good - practically slipping by without you noticing, but since this seems to be by design and not accident then I'm sure composer Jon Attwood won't see this as a drawback. And if he doesn't then why should you? 6/10
"Overtone" (Album, 2000)
On his sleeve notes, Jon Attwood, aka Yellow6, assures us that "no reverb units were harmed during the making of this record". This may be true, but they were certainly put through their paces. Overtone is an album of large expanses shrouded in an ambient mist. (Old skoolers and DJs will be please to know that the album is also released in a limited edition of 300 double clear vinyl records with hand-printed sleeve and featuring an extra track.)
There's something slightly unnerving about Attwood's use of guitars - it's impossible to tell where the guitars end and the effects begin; for this is eleven tracks and seventy two minutes of drifting atmospheres conjured up with some strange studio alchemy, creating an otherworldly but perhaps just benign landscape. One that rests somewhere between black and white English wooded hills in winter and the unfamiliar but fascinatingly psychedelic landscapes of some far-flung planet.
Like much of Enraptured's output, Overtone would make an ideal soundtrack for any unconventional filmmaker. With track titles such as snowmelt, seethrough and aerialforest, Yellow6's audience is likely to take in post-rockers, ambient enthusiasts, trippy dreamers and anyone else who is more interested in enveloping textures than verses and choruses. Previous Yellow 6 releases have received airplay from the likes of John Peel and with the band promising more live work (with the addition of drummer and bassist) they appear to be on the ascendant. Just the right time then to get hold of this debut LP and look forward to a creative and prosperous future. 7/10
Boards of Canada
Official Yellow6 website: http://www.yellow6.com