Friday, August 24, 2012

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

(Northern Exposure is a feature where Mark incessantly rambles about music from his home country of Canada.)

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are a bit of a mystery even when you just look at their name. I’ve come across more than a few people who think the band is some kind of collaboration between Yamantaka Eye of Boredoms and some band named Sonic Titan. However, that isn’t the case at all. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is the music project of Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood. The two Asian-Canadians, who formed the band in 2007 after meeting at Concordia University in Montreal, come off as a bit of an enigma to me. Between their unique mixture of a number of music genres and their crazy live show complete with face paint, these girls are a duo to be reckoned with.

To date Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have only released one studio album titled YT//ST which was released in 2011 (and was reviewed by Steve over here). As Steve mentions, the music that Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is making is completely unique. This uniqueness is mostly a consequence of mixing so many genres like prog-rock, J-pop, noise music, psychedelic music and even some hints of metal. The duo has cleverly dubbed their sound as “noh-wave”. On paper, the result sounds like it could be a complete mess, but instead what you get on YT//ST is half an hour of focused songs that vary from beautiful to brutal, and everything in between. To top things off, YT//ST was shortlisted for The 2012 Polaris Prize which will be awarded on September 24, 2012.

Maybe the best thing about Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is that their best is obviously yet to come. While they managed to fit a what seems like a lot of music into only half an hour on YT//ST, their style is one that is meant for long-winded jams and dense operatic tracks. I’m willing to bet that whatever kind of album Yamantaka // Sonic Titan releases next, it will be seen as a progression and growth from YT//ST.

Even though I’ve never seen Yamantaka // Sonic Titan live before, I’ve heard nothing but good things from anybody who has seen them, just have a look for yourself down below. Any band that has face paint reminiscent of Kiss and weird dancing garbage bags are at least going to put on a visual spectacle even if they don’t wow you with their music (which they will).

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan just recently released a new song as part of the Adult Swim singles series (which you can download over here). The song it titled “Lamia” and it showcases the more heavy and sludgy side that we head on the latter half of YT//ST. They could decide to go in a number of different directions with their next album, but if it ends up sounding a lot like “Lamia” then I think they could do a lot worse.

Some even more exciting news came this week for Yamantaka // Sonic Titan when they announced their signing to Paper Bag Records (who I did a Northern Exposure feature on a while ago over here). This only strengthens Paper Bag’s artist roster and it will give Yamantaka // Sonic Titan some well deserved exposure. In my opinion it’s a win for both sides.

Paper Bag will be reissuing YT//ST for a release on September 11, 2012. There isn’t any word yet on it a new album should be expected in the near future, but whenever it does come we should all be in for a treat.

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