CD REVIEW: Yellowline - Transiterate
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Genre: Ambient, Chill, Dub, Alternative Techno
Sounds Like: Future Sound of London, Curve, My Bloody Valentine Kinski & Acid Mothers Temple
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: More musical instrumentation
Yellowline is an interesting musical project that hails from Seattle, WA & consists of (1) solitary member: composer/singer/songwriter Brian Ackley who delivers us his debut CD entitled Transiterate released in 2010. This new material came together in parallel to his work in the Seattle based band Half Light. Musical influences include: Future Sound of London, Curve, My Bloody Valentine Kinski & Acid Mothers Temple just to name a few.
The CD lifts off with “Agrestic” an ambient intro piece that serves up industrial-type rhythms, with pulsating moog bass painted against a mesmerizing yet colorful canvass of music & sound that comes at you from every which direction. Track 2 “Puppet Wrangler” presents a kaleidoscope of sound featuring grooving rhythm with psychedelic guitar & walls of melody that flow & ebb its way through emotional fruition. Track 3 “Enoch Root” serves up methodical rock vibe against hypnotic keyboard & synthesizer accents with from Ackley. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear classic elements of Electronica, Ambient, Chill-out or dub music, yet with an Alternative Rock aftertaste. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere from impressive percussive accents, to effective beats & rhythms, to pulsating moog & bass segments, to psychedelic guitars, horns, acoustic guitars, synthesizer & dynamic keyboard accents layered along the way. The music itself is extremely unique, highly original, & not easy to pin down. The soundscapes are interesting, infectious, & hypnotic. The musical landscape flow & ebbs extremely against the dynamic scope of the music. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing an impressive songwriting craft. From Spanish “Remirp” to hypnotic “Sage Notion” & “Archipelago” to dynamic “Dusted Notion” to striking “Overspun” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Egegik” the perfect finale piece for a catalogue like this.
I wish some of the drums & bass notes had a tad more bottom end punch to them. It’s fair to say the catalogue is a bit repetitive overall. Perhaps more instrumentation is needed to bring more musical variety to the table. Things like solos, horns, flutes, vocal accents, strings or anything else to spice up the production just a bit more - making it less dry & repetitive.
Overall this release from Yellowline has some very impressive moments indeed. Transiterate is a very dynamic & interesting catalogue of music. The music is highly original & not so easily pinned down during the first go around. It's strong suit is the amazing musical depth, rich sonic layering, & Industrial-type beats & sampling. The musical textures & compelling, & full of variety. Ackley clearly displays some brilliant creativity here as an enormous amount of creativity was required to write these songs. Transiterate definitely a dynamic & progressive musical statement that offers a lot of musical variety & vivid sound imagery.