So, today, my commute was a short walk from my hotel room to a conference room for a training session – so this is will be short and sweet. With no commute playlist I thought I would go back and try and pick something a bit special to write about – so have gone for a track off What’s Up’s album, Content Imagination – ‘Yes’
Where to start; well as far as I am aware, this is pretty much all they have put out (since forming What’s up – the founder Robby Moncrieff was in band called Advantage that released an album of classic Nintendo music cover versions). It was released in 2009 by Obey Your Brain, I bought the vinyl and with it I got access to a high quality MP3 to download..nice. It is an instrumental album that pretty much defies categorisation, but is the sort of album that comes along once in a while and takes your head off with its sound, originality and sheer presence. The sort of album you maybe won’t listen to every day but you need, to just shake things up with its 28 minutes of experimentation..a pop album this isn’t (well not in the traditional sense anyway). One review I read described it as Zappa meets Rza and to be honest I am not sure I can top that, but it also gets put in the math rock slot like Battles and I can see the link. Every time I come back to it (which I often do) it still astounds me with its impact and originality – Almost 3 years on it is still right out there and I can’t see it dating any time soon.
The band originated from Sacramento and as far as I am aware were part of a collective from that area – this makes sense when you listen to the album – electronics and instruments clash via what appears to be improvisation, with at times disorientating effect. But they always keep it together, staying on the right side of calamity, holding it together with flashes of melody and consistent rhythm. The first track of the album ‘Yes’ encapsulates this perfectly. Stay with it for the first 1.50 seconds as it cascades down and breaks into a lovely structure and melody that feels like it almost has an African under current. It was a toss up between ‘Yes’ and ‘Harper’s Introduction’ which was the first track I heard and another one that I really love. In the end I went for the first and if I am honest, probably most accessible track on this short LP. I really do think it is a stunning album – give it a go. Note to self, dig a bit deeper about them.