reviewed by Michael Thomas
It’s hard not to consider the big questions when listening to any music by YlangYlang. In some ways YlangYlang’s music is like the work of Black Walls, though the ambient synth-scapes of the former are nothing like the heavy, post-rock-influenced guitar of the latter. Rather, both make very expansive music, the type that you can lose yourself in.
As made evident by the Bandcamp page for No Exist (Feel Special), this album is completely meant to fuck with your mind. Nothing about this seven-song LP is “easy” in any way. Instead, you’ll swim through synths and distorted vocals as you’re forced to examine yourself in greater detail than you might be comfortable with.
Peppered throughout No Exist (a reference to the musical collective YlangYlang is a part of, along with Cosi e Cosi and Nothinge—both of who feature on this album) are phrases that anyone could be thinking right now. “New Language” especially repeats phrases like “Who am I kidding? Am I strong enough? Do I care too much?”
Perhaps the most naked emotion can be felt in “Slanted,” the opening number that reverberates with heavy synth sounds and extremely modified vocals. Perhaps not every lyrics is immediately audible, but you can feel the intensity and urgency in their tone. It’s looking to the stars for answers, as lyrics reflect on trauma: “Deep inside, I have so many scars…”
Other places on the album threaten to go into oblivion. “Fossil Bones” shudders, and “Pour Manu” gets heavier and heavier, before lifted up by Cosi e Cosi’s spoken-word verse.
All in all, No Exist dares to ask “Who am I?” And listening to it might make you know yourself a little better.
Top Tracks: “Slanted”; “New Language”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)