Yes/And - Yes/And Music Album Reviews

Yes/And - Yes/And Music Album Reviews
The debut album from Meg Duffy and Joel Ford maps the interaction between delicate fingerpicking and precise electronic textures; it is a study in subtle, gorgeous discord.

There is an inherent sweetness in Meg Duffy’s work. As Hand Habits, the guitarist and songwriter is known for their layered, intimate melodies. Their songs sound cracked open, split to reveal a softly glowing warmth. Under a new partnership with producer Joel Ford, prior collaborator of Oneohtrix Point Never and Jacques Greene, Duffy retains that vulnerability, but it is subverted and fortified by Ford’s peculiar, dissonant treatments. The duo recorded their self-titled debut as Yes/And during a series of mid-pandemic studio sessions in Los Angeles. The wordless, 10-song collection maps the interaction between Duffy’s delicate fingerpicking and Ford’s precise textures. It is a study in subtle, gorgeous discord.

Yes/And tugs gently between two realms: the serene and the uneasy. At times, this tension is present within a single piece. On “Ugly Orange,” a sunny, pastoral phrase reminiscent of Duffy’s work with guitarist William Tyler somersaults throughout the song. But there are things creeping beneath the motif that belie its playful nature: A buried, crackling voice, synthesized whale song, and a small, ceaseless drone. As Duffy plays, the loping melody staggers and slowly collapses into this field of sound. Ford’s expanding squeals and static devour the riff, like waves reclaiming flotsam that’s been washed ashore. “Tumble” is also underpinned by tiny, almost imperceivable patches of distortion, but it’s the innocuous friction in Duffy’s playing that is most fascinating. Their guitar strings are tautly drawn and palm-muted, each percussive strum flat and dry. The repetitive cadence is almost grating in its simplicity, yet somehow it is oddly soothing.

These moments of well-placed strain add intrigue, but they do not detract from the album’s mesmerizing pull. Yes/And play with scope as much as they do detail, toying with the listener’s sense of proximity to the music. On “More Than Love,” we feel extremely close to the source: The unsteady, agitated strings scratch around like insects crawling through dry grass. On “Centered Shell,” intricate guitar flourishes sparkle like sun-drenched asphalt. Here we are zoomed in, inspecting each three-dimensional detail under a high-powered microscope. Contrary to these tactile compositions, mid-album track “Learning About Who You Are” is cosmic and grand. Ford employs broad washes of synthesizer, resonant and metallic and mysterious. The noise is all-enveloping—you don’t stop to consider the hands that created it; you just let it sweep over you.

Duffy typically sings on Hand Habits recordings, their light, clean register providing context outside of their agile guitar technique. On Yes/And, Duffy is largely voiceless, their playing recontextualized by Ford’s understated maneuvers rather than the arc of a personal narrative. On the fragmented “Emoticon Scroll,” Duffy’s presence recedes furthest into the background. It is Yes/And’s most abstract piece, split between an extended, scuffed-up groan and pulses of springy, croaking keys. It is at this very moment that Duffy’s role as a guitarist becomes so clear and essential. In their absence, the warmth and sensitivity coursing through the rest of the album also retreats. This lack is sharply felt on “Emoticon Scroll,” though it is likely intentional, given the song’s cold, detached title. As closer “In My Heaven All Faucets Are Fountains” trickles in immediately after, Duffy’s deft plucking returns triumphantly. No matter how disguised or reshaped, their sweet, pure playing is the undeniable heart of this music.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Yes/And - Yes/And Music Album Reviews Yes/And - Yes/And Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 11, 2021 Rating: 5


Post a Comment