The New York based band Yagull is basically a one-man acoustic power project initiated by guitarist Sasha Markovic. In order to create the music on his latest album Films, he gathered four extraordinary soloists around him. These four musicians are flutist Lori Reddy, saxophonist Eylon Tushiner, cellist Sonia Choi and drummer Josh Margolis.
Films contains acoustic instrumental music that can be seen as post rock chamber music and as the title already reveals, some of the compositions would do well as part of a soundtrack for a movie by Werner Fassbinder. While writing this review on a quiet Sunday morning, the smooth and relaxed atmosphere of the album fits perfectly. Concerning his music Markovic isn't selfish at all since most of the attention goes to the guest musicians, although the strong foundation of the acoustic guitar really stands out.
The album contains a lot of different styles of music. For instance, the opening song Dark reminded me of Apocalyptica playing the album Metallica By Four Cellos, and East has a certain feel of a composition by Sting. On the pieces wherein Sasha Markovic goes completely solo, I was captivated by the intensity and beauty of his playing. Listen for instance to the tranquil pieces T Feel, Mosquita or April and you'll catch my drift. Summerdreamer contains some shifting chords on the guitar; it's clearly audible that it becomes a part of the composition. Some acoustic players do like the sound of it; some don't, but for me it works well in this composition and it doesn't bother me at all.
The album also holds two covers performed in such a way that it really adds value to the originals. White Room is a cover of the famous British sixties band Cream featuring Eric Clapton. With the addition of flute and drums to the acoustic guitar the song changes into a smooth, but intense version of the original. Personally, I like covers of classic songs that contain some characteristics of the artist who covered it, while the song still remains recognizable. The same applies to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, a song originally recorded by Black Sabbath. It starts with a melody that could have been played by the Iron Maiden tribute band Maiden United. In this song Yagull stays close to the original, but Markovic's acoustic playing provides it with an original touch. The rendition of this piece reminds me of The Alex Skolnick Trio that covers classics in a jazzy way. With Distance we leave the more acoustic atmosphere of the previous songs. Cellos and distorted guitars provide this song with an atmosphere that strongly differs from the rest. Not bad, but just different!
With Films Yagull recorded an album that contains fine compositions all played flawless. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, which perfectly suits a lazy Sunday morning or a quiet evening by candlelight and with a glass of wine.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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