Yves Tumor - Safe In The Hands Of Love

The Quietus

Evolving from the coarse, engulfing experimentalism that defined his 2016 PAN LP Serpent Music and mixtapes When Man Fails You and Experiencing The Deposit Of Faith, Yves Tumor drags away the dense sonic shroud. Here, the enigmatic producer, multi-instrumentalist and performer is exposed, assured and vulnerable.

He welcomes murky R&B, indie psychedelics and, most strikingly, his own voice further into the fray than ever before. The result is an album replete with cutting honesty and desperation, his lyrics stark and fragile.

In the lead-up to the surprise digital release of this LP yesterday (the physical release date is 12 October), Tumor shared singles ‘Noid’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’. These tracks and their accompanying videos showed us an artist laid bare, more assertive and willing to be witnessed unadorned. The lyrics in the percussive, string-sample lead ‘Noid’ invoke the fear and trauma induced by police brutality as he sings of fearing for his life, being scared to go outside and experiencing PTSD and depression. It all comes accompanied with Yves Tumor’s most (only?) hook-laden chorus to date as he calls “911, 911, 911 / Can’t trust them.” ‘Licking An Orchid’ is a heartrending, toxically romantic duet with vocalist with James Kay, all to the tune of hollowed out psych-pop and R&B.

The experimentalism isn’t all gone, mind you. ‘Economy of Freedom’ finds Tumor teaming up with dark-ambient producer Croatian Amor for a dark, absorbing and rhythmic cut. The harrowing ‘Hope in Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’ finds him teaming up with Oxhy (who also featured on Serpent Music) and Danish experimental noise and drone deviant Puce Mary for the album’s most unsettling cut. The distorted spoken word vocal is vivid, violent and physical, reminding us that, despite the sensitivity that this album welcomes, Yves Tumor is an artist capable of creating shock and unease in the most rewarding fashion.

Final track ‘Let the Lioness in You Flow Freely’ sums up this album’s mission statement with clamorous energy. Relentless percussion, Mogwai-reminiscent guitars and an unhinged vocal refrain draws thing to a close with a viciousness and rawness never before heard from this artist on record (though his live shows have more than made up for that). Yves Tumor has let assertiveness, assuredness and vulnerability run wild within him for Safe In The Hands Of Love and the result is magisterial and deeply engaging.

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Thu Sep 06 20:19:33 CEST 2018

91

Pitchfork

Yves Tumor’s latest album is a benchmark in experimental music. It is searing and borderless, music that is aware of oppressive confinement, and music with an intoxicating urge to be free.

Fri Sep 07 07:00:00 CEST 2018

90

Tiny Mix Tapes

Yves Tumor
Safe in the Hands of Love

[Warp; 2018]

Rating: 4.5/5

What does it even mean to be “experimental” anymore? It’s a term that’s supposed to connote some kind of wading into uncharted territory, a willingness to push beyond our most subliminally held beliefs when it comes to how we perceive music and, to a larger extent, the world. But the word has increasingly become shorthand for a specific scene of artists today who fit just as neatly into predetermined boundaries as any other genre tag. Sometimes it even feels like these “vanguard” artists are simply catching up to what mainstream culture has been privy to for years, as if the reassessments of nu-metal, EDM, country, or what have you are just the results of somebody finally deciding to slap the art sticker on what they deemed to be previously “lesser” forms. Maybe we would’ve just been better off not turning our noses down at so many manifestations of expression in the first place, as if any style of music isn’t inherently a nesting doll of gateways into understanding who we really are.

Part of what’s made Sean Bowie’s music so captivating over his many scattered projects is that he’s never seemed to put too much stock into being any one kind of artist. Sure, he’s all about that shadowy “who is he?” ambiguity that us critics just can’t ever seem to get enough of, but as Safe in the Hands of Love proves, even he’s willing to cast off the dark shroud of mystery around his work if it means that it’ll set him free. Despite all the disturbing imagery that’s accompanied his debut release for Warp, Yves Tumor’s latest record is shockingly accessible, a huge, explosive rush of song and sound as layered and textured as it is pure and simple. For an artist who’s demonstrated a remarkable ability to evoke moods of melancholy and fear in his music, Safe in the Hands of Love thrives on its intensity and excitement, revealing a side of Yves Tumor that we’ve never seen blossom so fully like this before.

The most striking thing about Safe in the Hands of Love is how utterly straightforward it is; compared to previous Yves Tumor records, which could flit between layered field recordings, slinky R&B, smudged beats, and overwhelming static without batting an eyelash, Safe in the Hands of Love plays like an outright pop record. Tracks like “Noid” and “Lifetime” could be mistaken for a strange approximation of English big beat and early-2000s indie rock with their pounding drums and surprisingly in-your-face vocals, but these moments are ultimately more fascinating for their sheer energy and hookiness than they are for any sort of aesthetic repurposing. Even in its most upbeat moments, there’s always a hidden layer beneath the frame — on the warped 90s pop of “Noid,” Bowie fears for his own life as a “killing spree” rages on outside, while the ruminative chamber music of “Recognizing the Enemy” builds to a voice-shredding climax as Bowie chants over and over, “I can’t recognize myself.” All these nebulous paeans to identity, love, spirituality, and freedom that dot the lyrics and track titles are as immediately relatable as they are obscured by their own vagueness, producing the woozy effect of feeling both closer and more distant from Yves Tumor at the same time.

But even if Safe In The Hands of Love’s deadliest weapon is its simplicity and its rock friendliness, the craft here still feels as nuanced as anything Bowie has ever done. You can hear his love of deep, moody loops in the smeared “Faith In Nothing Except Salvation” and “All The Love We Have Now,” each of which sound like the result of stacking so many low bitrate recordings atop one another until their ugliness becomes its own kind of beauty. Although Bowie only ever seems to deploy his diced-up beats when the moment truly calls for it, “Honesty” demonstrates his fearsome approach to club rhythms, click-clacking back and forth as Yves Tumor asks, “Is this you or your persona?” All this questioning and self-discovery only adds to Safe in the Hands of Love’s almost glam-rock sense of roleplay; even when Bowie dips back into the harsh noise of his past on the bridge of the sensuous trip-hop dirge “Licking an Orchid,” it sounds less like abstract expressionism and more like his twisted version of a sky-tearing guitar solo.

There are traces of the old Yves Tumor here in the sighing, deconstructed R&B of “Economy of Freedom” and the pulverizing feedback assault of “Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness),” but when did we ever really have a grasp on the old Yves Tumor in the first place? Every project Bowie has pursued over the years has felt like an attempt to realize a different facet of himself, with the wild divergence from album to album (sometimes even from song to song; sometimes even within a song) only helping to give us a more detailed portrait of the artist. Although Yves Tumor’s rise to prominence has put a target on his head for every blog and algorithm out there to attempt and nail down exactly who or what he is, Safe in the Hands of Love proves that no amount of definition can really encompass a person’s ever-shifting essence. Bowie’s only consistent trajectory has been one of tearing down his mythos even as his builds it, and his latest manages to knock down yet another wall as he steps more fully into the light than he’s ever dared tread before. On Safe in the Hands of Love, Yves Tumor isn’t concerned with being “experimental;” he’s simply concerned with being.

Mon Sep 17 06:01:32 CEST 2018

90

Tiny Mix Tapes

Yves Tumor
Safe in the Hands of Love

[Warp; 2018]

Rating: 4.5/5

What does it even mean to be “experimental” anymore? It’s a term that’s supposed to connote some kind of wading into uncharted territory, a willingness to push beyond our most subliminally held beliefs when it comes to how we perceive music and, to a larger extent, the world. But the word has increasingly become shorthand for a specific scene of artists today who fit just as neatly into predetermined boundaries as any other genre tag. Sometimes it even feels like these “vanguard” artists are simply catching up to what mainstream culture has been privy to for years, as if the reassessments of nu-metal, EDM, country, or what have you are just the results of somebody finally deciding to slap the art sticker on what they deemed to be previously “lesser” forms. Maybe we would’ve just been better off not turning our noses down at so many manifestations of expression in the first place, as if any style of music isn’t inherently a nesting doll of gateways into understanding who we really are.

Part of what’s made Sean Bowie’s music so captivating over his many scattered projects is that he’s never seemed to put too much stock into being any one kind of artist. Sure, he’s all about that shadowy “who is he?” ambiguity that us critics just can’t ever seem to get enough of, but as Safe in the Hands of Love proves, even he’s willing to cast off the dark shroud of mystery around his work if it means that it’ll set him free. Despite all the disturbing imagery that’s accompanied his debut release for Warp, Yves Tumor’s latest record is shockingly accessible, a huge, explosive rush of song and sound as layered and textured as it is pure and simple. For an artist who’s demonstrated a remarkable ability to evoke moods of melancholy and fear in his music, Safe in the Hands of Love thrives on its intensity and excitement, revealing a side of Yves Tumor that we’ve never seen blossom so fully like this before.

The most striking thing about Safe in the Hands of Love is how utterly straightforward it is; compared to previous Yves Tumor records, which could flit between layered field recordings, slinky R&B, smudged beats, and overwhelming static without batting an eyelash, Safe in the Hands of Love plays like an outright pop record. Tracks like “Noid” and “Lifetime” could be mistaken for a strange approximation of English big beat and early-2000s indie rock with their pounding drums and surprisingly in-your-face vocals, but these moments are ultimately more fascinating for their sheer energy and hookiness than they are for any sort of aesthetic repurposing. Even in its most upbeat moments, there’s always a hidden layer beneath the frame — on the warped 90s pop of “Noid,” Bowie fears for his own life as a “killing spree” rages on outside, while the ruminative chamber music of “Recognizing the Enemy” builds to a voice-shredding climax as Bowie chants over and over, “I can’t recognize myself.” All these nebulous paeans to identity, love, spirituality, and freedom that dot the lyrics and track titles are as immediately relatable as they are obscured by their own vagueness, producing the woozy effect of feeling both closer and more distant from Yves Tumor at the same time.

But even if Safe In The Hands of Love’s deadliest weapon is its simplicity and its rock friendliness, the craft here still feels as nuanced as anything Bowie has ever done. You can hear his love of deep, moody loops in the smeared “Faith In Nothing Except Salvation” and “All The Love We Have Now,” each of which sound like the result of stacking so many low bitrate recordings atop one another until their ugliness becomes its own kind of beauty. Although Bowie only ever seems to deploy his diced-up beats when the moment truly calls for it, “Honesty” demonstrates his fearsome approach to club rhythms, click-clacking back and forth as Yves Tumor asks, “Is this you or your persona?” All this questioning and self-discovery only adds to Safe in the Hands of Love’s almost glam-rock sense of roleplay; even when Bowie dips back into the harsh noise of his past on the bridge of the sensuous trip-hop dirge “Licking an Orchid,” it sounds less like abstract expressionism and more like his twisted version of a sky-tearing guitar solo.

There are traces of the old Yves Tumor here in the sighing, deconstructed R&B of “Economy of Freedom” and the pulverizing feedback assault of “Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness),” but when did we ever really have a grasp on the old Yves Tumor in the first place? Every project Bowie has pursued over the years has felt like an attempt to realize a different facet of himself, with the wild divergence from album to album (sometimes even from song to song; sometimes even within a song) only helping to give us a more detailed portrait of the artist. Although Yves Tumor’s rise to prominence has put a target on his head for every blog and algorithm out there to attempt and nail down exactly who or what he is, Safe in the Hands of Love proves that no amount of definition can really encompass a person’s ever-shifting essence. Bowie’s only consistent trajectory has been one of tearing down his mythos even as his builds it, and his latest manages to knock down yet another wall as he steps more fully into the light than he’s ever dared tread before. On Safe in the Hands of Love, Yves Tumor isn’t concerned with being “experimental;” he’s simply concerned with being.

Mon Sep 17 06:01:32 CEST 2018

80

The Guardian

(Warp)

As this year’s Reading & Leeds lineup showed, kids have extremely catholic tastes as a result of growing up with the radical accessibility of streaming, but musicians themselves still usually cleave to one or two aesthetics. Yves Tumor, though, is thrillingly untethered to style, and as such is a bard for our cultural moment.

Having previously released drifting ambient, clattering experimental trap, lo-fi vintage boogie and more, the secretive Tennessee expat continues to swerve from one mood to the next. Honesty is a driving analogue techno number in the vein of Hieroglyphic Being: arid, punchy 808 claps drive a bleating vocal line from a heartbroken Tumor. Then he handbrake-turns into the superb Noid, a piece of Avalanches-style breakbeat pop that perkily addresses police brutality. Then he reverses back into more lovelorn sadness on Licking an Orchid, this time to a trip-hop shuffle.

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Fri Sep 07 08:00:34 CEST 2018