Yagya - Rigning

  • Share
  • Despite all of the good dub techno that is released each year, it remains a particularly difficult genre to sound distinct within. The template laid down by Basic Channel over a decade ago is still de rigueur: heavy submerged bass and wispy waves of high end hiss mark out both ends of a broad spatial spectrum open to exploration and population with echoing patterns and electronic life forms. Not surprisingly, most of the outstanding dub techno that has emerged has come from those who have broken this mould. Echospace, for instance, have married Basic Channel's paradigm with the new minimal aesthetic, whereas Bvdub moved the bass drum to the surface and filled the depths with rich emotional washes. Somewhere in between is Iceland's Yagya. Yagya is perhaps Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson's most recognised nom de plume, and the only one currently active, but his more techno releases under the Plastic moniker are still well regarded as is his even earlier incarnation as Sanasol with Thorhallur Skulason. The reputation of Yagya rests largely on Rhythm of Snow, released in 2002 on Force Tracks, which fused ambient and dub techno with a powdery overcoat of glitch. Rigning follows the same cohesive design as Rhythm, but eclipses it by enriching the emotional experience and by breaking even further away from the classic dub techno template. Like Rhythm, the tracks on Rigning are built on song lines rather than around textural ideas as is more common in dub techno. That is, the beats and echoing patterns are subservient to the dominant emotional tones and the smoother ambient currents that run through the centre of each track. (Beat-wise, "Rigning Níu" stands out as almost the only track with more than a gentle bass throb.) In many cases, these currents even extend beyond the limits of the track, once all rhythmic constructions are forgotten, such as in "Rigning Tvö" and the melodically rich "Rigning þrjú." The closing track "Rigning Tíu" even has the courage to play off the melody line from Bette Midler's maudlin hit The Rose without sounding kitsch. Rigning is also defined by its inclusion of the sound of rain and storms throughout. Whereas the glitch layer of Rhythm merely represented the snow, here the high end sound is the rain. Not only does it thematically complete the album, but there is a certain narrative to the sounds as well. The opening cricket sounds of "Rigning Einn" slowly become drizzle, then eventually a downpour which fills the spaces between tracks before finally condensing into storm sounds towards the end of the album, such as on the Blade Runner-inspired "Rigning Sjö." Furthering the rain theme is the beautiful CD-only track "Rigning Fjórir," a more abstract piece blending hopeful melodies and rain effects with echoing crowd noises and street scenes. By intimately reflecting human beings within nature, Guðmundsson manages to universalise the moods and organic spirit that bathe the album. It's a highlight on an album full of them, yet another example of how Yagya goes past Basic Channel to something else entirely.
  • Tracklist
      01. Rigning Einn 02. Rigning Tvö 03. Rigning þrjú 04. Rigning Fjórir 05. Rigning Fimm 06. Rigning Sex 07. Rigning Sjö 08. Rigning Átta 09. Rigning Níu 10. Rigning Tíu