Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #248: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

March 5th, 2012


 Show #248: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
(Photo found here.)

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are a duo consisting of Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood and they hail from Montreal. Ms. B is apparently Chinese-Irish-Canadian while Ms. Attwood is Japanese-Scottish-Canadian. They call their music Noh-Wave in reference to Noh, a traditional form of Japanese musical theatre.

While there are no doubt lots of musical influences at play here, my ears hear a heavy, raw form of progressive rock. There’s plenty of Hammond organ on “Reverse Crystal” while “A Star Over Pureland” could pass as a Tarkus outtake with its synthesizer. I hear a bit of shoe-gaze in “Murder of a Spider” while “Hoshi Neko” is more straight-ahead pop. Walls of sludgy noise are contrasted against Alaska and Ruby’s ethereal voices which may or may not be singing actual words. Listen to the last half of “A Star Over Pureland” and you’ll hear what I mean. These ladies have some great pipes.

This was recorded on 28 January of this year at The Garrison in Toronto, ON. I rather like this recording as you can hear the bass whereas the studio clips I’ve heard on YouTube sound really tinny.

Setlist:

[entrance music]
Raccoon Song
Queens
Oak of Guernica
Reverse Crystal
Murder of a Spider
Counting Song
Hoshi Neko
A Star Over Pureland
Crystal Fortress Over the Sea of Trees
Lamia

Download show

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Here’s the band doing “Reverse Crystal” on 3 February 2012 in Ottawa. As you can see, they have costumes and greasepaint in the grand prog tradition.

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