Listening to Yol is like attending a concrete poetry recital in the middle of a hurricane. Whirling chunks of language collide with the clangs and clatters of flying debris. Words aren’t so much spoken as vomited, dragged from the depths of a churning gut in desperate, polemic compulsion, and more often than not punctuated by anguished screams and disgusted growls.
‘Drift’ is the latest despatch from the tumult, released on Dale Cornish and Philip Marshall’s new Vanity Publishing imprint, which (I think) is a sub-set of the marvellous Tapeworm. The founders were responsible for the label’s double debut, Cornish’s ‘Rhododendron’ combining snippets of sung poetry with evocative textural fragments and Marshall’s ‘Entrain’ unleashing abrasive, noisy screeds. Yol’s ‘Drift’ is part of a second tranche of releases, accompanied by a lovely set of trippy, hazy bangers from Matthew Mullane, which can, under no circumstances, be called deconstructed club music.
But back to Yol. Numbering just four tracks, ‘Drift’ is as brief and hard hitting as a double espresso spiked with ground glass. Opener ‘Gold Letters’ enacts a kind of psychogeographical meltdown, Yol’s growled evocation of a pub where ‘Most of the locals scrape gold lettering off the windows / Hoping it would buy them another pint’ competing with an avalanche of canine yelps and tinny plinks. None of our furry friends were harmed during the making of that piece, Yol assured me via Twitter. I wasn’t that worried, to be honest, given the empathy with underdogs of all kinds woven into in Yol’s work like a rusty wire. More interesting are the possibilities of communal human-animal noisemaking that this gruff cacophony suggests. Woof.
A couple of slightly noisier tracks add to the classic Yol portfolio, both of them typically bracing, before things veer into uncharted territory with the majestic ‘Inside, The Buildings Are Angry’. 13 minutes of heavy synth drone spear us in the cortex, Yol’s howled interjections providing additional derangement. Imagine Phil Niblock recording a J.G. Ballard audiobook with Crass as his support band and you’re stumbling around the right zone, more or less. As usual, Yol laces his fury with pithy insight. ‘Inside this building / There are more flipcharts than people’, he mutters, while the background throbs and pulses like a malignant generator. A distinctly liverish delight.