Wednesday, 13 November 2013


FIRST OF ALL: Apologies. I'm sorry to everyone who's emailed me with music so far. A lot of it I just haven't got round to listening to yet. But I know what it's like to sit and wait for replies to emails you've nicely sent out so over the course of the next few days I will be having an Email Marathon. Anyway, this artist, the USA-based Zoom Lens associate Uio Loi (pronounced "oo-ee-oh loy" - real name Kyle Yerhot or K. Yerhot; I prefer the latter) has recently created and released a collection of songs, an album basically I dunno why I referred to it as that, called Pyobachi. It arrives care of brand-spaking-new art collective MI AJIRA and it's a really nice listen.

What is it? Essentially it's a collation of short songs linked in their similar aesthetic. Mr Yerhot himself says that it "focuses on using general MIDI sound samples mixed with modern electronic music & field recordings to create a juxtaposition of old & new." He also describes it as "Beautiful & ugly," and whilst it could seem an unflattering sub-text to bestow on his own creation, it's more of a romantic feeling than anything else. I mean Romantic. Not romantic. I believe, in this respect, the song titles help as a guide. These are vignettes, short poems of sound that conjure images and feelings related to loose subject matter falling under the titles. Which can indeed be wide and encompassing umbrellas of reference.

For instance, you have an actual recording of what sounds like a group of students making their exodus at the end of a lecture in 'Lecture', coupled with soft synth chords and industrious marimba that provides a breezy atmosphere of light learning. Next song, 'Reminisce' provides a portal to the past in the form of ascending wormhole bleeps and mystical pan-pipe melodies, ending when the goal of reminiscing is reached: warm, homely synths that glow with nostalgia. Broken robot sounds grace the glitch of does-not-compute feelings in 'Goodbye Never Ever Ever' and 'Flight' captures a bustling airport with foreign languages spoken against excitable toytronic sounds.

Opener 'Apartment' has this intro that would fit perfectly as a soundtrack to arriving home after a night out; all the lights are off, there's this unnerving almost ghostly feeling in the air. But as your own living person inhabits the space - turning lights on, switching on the TV, maybe cooking chips (fries whatever) in the oven - your own emotions fill the space: here it's a comforting sound, waves of synth driven forward by kicks and MIDI pan pipes for a playful decoration, yet all of it still with that same unnerving sound, a solitary undertone.

Likewise, there's that illustration of space in 'Living Room'. Recordings of something shuffling around in the background underpin a cold wash of ambient synths against rapid-fire arpeggios of synth boops; someone's playing piano at the end. Is that shuffling or sniffling? Could be sniffling cause it carries on over into next song 'Weep', featuring glistening silver sounds that perfectly partner with the delicate connotations of the word "weep" (as opposed to "sob" or "cry"). It summons a used-to, ingrained sadness, more of a celebration of cathartic release than wallowing in negativity. Closer 'Once More', with its thin yet head-nodding beat and mechanical glitch sounds, give a sense of continuance, how a night will end in the inevitability of tomorrow or how a morning will end in the day's definitive fading.

I could've done this with every song but then I'd be ruining your own chance to think about what you see or feel when you hear these short clippings of emotion and memory. Download Pyobachi for whatever price you like over at MI AJIRA's Bandcamp and enjoy the musical poetry. Also the album art was by Uio Loi himself.

Listen to Uio Loi on SoundCloud
Follow Uio Loi on Twitter
Check Uio Loi on Tumblr

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