Yugen – Iridule

Yugen isn’t really a band as such. It’s more of a “project” name, by which I mean the founders Francesco Zago (formerly of The Night Watch, which is not the same band as The Watch in spite of the fact that the GEPR and most other sources convolve the two) and Marcello Marinone use a different line-up of musicians on each of their albums. If you think that Zago‘s involvement means this will sound like Genesis just because The Night Watch did, you will be in for a surprise. Because Yugen is RIO and sounds not even a little bit like Genesis.

I haven’t heard Yugen‘s first two albums, but I have heard their third and latest, Iridule. It’s really hard to talk with your jaw scraping the ground, so it’s a good thing I can type my opinion instead. WOW! Is this an incredible album! I think that Thinking Plague has just been unseated as my favorite modern RIO band. Well, maybe not … pretty much the entire band plays on this album, including Dave Kerman (Drums), Mike Johnson (Guitars), Elaine Di Falco (Voices) and Dave Wiley (Electric Bass). Also, Guy Segers (ex-Univers Zero) lends a hand, along with several other incredible musicians. You really couldn’t ask for a more star-studded line-up for this sort of music.

The Altrock write-up that characterizes Iridule as a mixture of Henry Cow, King Crimson and Frank Zappa is actually dead-on, and I was really going to use those same reference bands even before I read their blurb. “Difficult” music, to be sure, yet also infused with enough accessible elements that I was able to grab ahold and hang on for the ride on the first listen. I only seem to have time to review what I feel are the best albums these days, so don’t be surprised if I say one more time, “One of the top albums for 2010”. But the first in the RIO category. Simply superb in every way. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Yugen‘s MySpace site
Click here for the Altrock label’s web site


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