Andrasklang: Yellowcake

Now here's a head-scratching release. A product of the Ann Arbor-based Andras Klang label, the Yellowcake CD arrives tucked inside a red greeting card envelope, with the envelope itself inserted within a magazine-sized, full-colour booklet that displays images but zero text on its eight pages. Apparently, the Sean Patrick release is a remastered and remixed reissue of an earlier two-track EP that's now seven tracks (the original two tracks, four remixes, and a silent interlude) and forty-three minutes long.

“Yellowcake” is in part generated from vocal manipulations (groans, grunts, etc.), though heavily treated showers of tinkling bell tones gradually become the track's focal point. “First Sounds” follows with outdoor field recordings of industrial materials, combustible noise, and percussive accents. Separating the opening pair (I'm guessing they're the original EP tracks) and the final four (the remixes, one presumes) is “Andras Silent Recording,” four minutes and thirty-three seconds of, yes, silence (note the Cage connection).

Each of the makeovers (no info is provided as to the identities of those involved) is different in character and duration. The album's key track, “Unhindered Fidelity,” offers a lovely exercise in ambient scene-painting that finds echoing vibraphone-like tones dancing radiantly for thirteen sparkling minutes; the piece invites comparison to Lullatone—though I don't recall the group ever having released a track of such length. The album then shifts gears for three dronescaping minutes of torrential clangor (“Winterklang”) before the aptly-titled “Wonder Red” presents a vaporous wonderland of fluttering bell tones and “Travelodge” guides us out with percussion-heavy rhythms trudging alongside billowing tones. All told, it's an engaging enough release but the absence of clarifying detail proves a tad irksome. I'll confess I like to have some modest sense of what a release is about while I'm listening to it.

November 2009