The striking thing about Yuksek's Away From The Sea is precisely the coherence that he has been able to forge along the way. With disarming ease, he mixes pop hooks with dancefloor devastation, post-punk riffs and acid loops, disco grooves, experimental arabesque flourishes, house beats and catchy melodies. Within a track you'll hear hints of both the Pixies and Scissor Sisters, or Squarepusher and Giorgio Moroder, or Mirwaïs and Daft Punk. Guests on the album include rapper Amanda Blank (Spank Rock), electrofunk duo Chromeo, psychedelic-folk group The Bewitched Hands and the dance-rock of Shit Disco. All of which show that Yuksek is the latest version of a generation unphased, thanks to the 'shuffle' button on their iPods, easily switching from - say - tough garage rock to a melancholic torch song, from a Chopin waltz to a hip-hop hit. A resolutely post-schizophrenic musician, you could say, whose outwardly electronic album hides a pop heart. Songs like "So far Away from the Sea," "Freak'O'Rocker" and "This Certain Life" are proof enough.
So what's the secret of the enthusiastic equilibrium of his finely crafted tracks? Surely not just his virtuoso savoir-faire, even if it does allow him to record his baselines and harmonic progressions in analogue, and instantly seize on the strangest chords he can think of... Well, first of all it's his naturally spontaneous temperament: "I compose really instinctively," he says. "I never think about what I'm going to do before going into the studio. I work fast and just let my mood guide me." That it how, hidden away "far from the sea," in his own studio situated in the basement of a basement, deprived of Internet and mobile phone contact, Yuksek lets his tracks develop into mini-epics, using his talent for twisted FX, sensorial rollercoaster rides and electrifying changes of tack. "I like it when there's always something going on in a track," he confides, before tentatively adding "perhaps because I'm afraid of emptiness?"
And that's how Yuksek became standard-bearer of post- Soulwax/Justice disco-rock club culture; by being cultivated and keen, mixing sonic strength and sensibility, sexy images and impromptu noisiness. Or, to put it another way, by blurring the boundary between hyper and surrealism - much like the novels of Kafka (that he loves) or the photos of Gregory Crewdson (which fascinate him and always say something other than they initially seem to). All of which helps us appreciate that "Tonight" abuses the clichés of the night more than it uses them.
REMIX EP COMING APRIL 7th!
Catch Yuksek while you can...
3/25 - San Francisco, CA @ 103 Harriet
3/26 - Miami, FL @ Apple Store, Lincoln Road
3/27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon
3/28 - New York, NY @ Studio B