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Yes Wizard – Elephant & Castle review

Given the broad remit of sounds that have permeated the Tigersushi catalogue to date, it’s understandable that the Parisian label has remained the vanguard of those with more refined tastes whilst fellow Gallic labels, with an obvious example, have fallen foul to the harsh realities of today’s hype driven ADD generation. Overseen with aplomb by Joakim, also the label’s most feted member, a Tigersushi release is almost always doused in sonic and visual quality.

In a year where Joakim himself is readying a fourth and highly anticipated album as well as delivering full length players from junior members DyE and Nakion, Tigersushi add to their international roster with the South American flavours of Yes Wizard. Most Tigersushi releases are accompanied by grandiose press releases (with perhaps Tiga’s Turbo the only label who put more effort into them) and the verbal context provided with Elephant & Castle is no different – introducing Yes Wizard as a mystical musical urban legend Joakim unsuccessfully pursued on a recent holiday in Ubatuba, Brazil, only to arrive back in Paris and find a number of Yes Wiz tracks at Tigersushi HQ.

As humorous as this is, what is important is the music, and the two tracks from Yes Wizard are revelatory, unveiling a devilishly deranged appetite for raw drums, jagged synth stabs and less than salubrious London landmarks on “Elephant & Castle”. Staccato programming and schizoid electrified flourishes permeate the beginnings of a track that swerves in several rhythmic directions  with a hint of the sounds of the Akira OST included. Thrillingly an almighty arpeggiated melody drops in and lends the track a delightful quality amidst the cacophony of turbo charged chaos. Alongside this is the macho Miami pump of “Heaven Black” where some rough and ready drum machine antics positioned at an almost UK Funky angle are offset by a parping tropical rhythm that drunkenly slips out of place in a stumbling through Carnival loaded on Jaeger and absinthe fashion, before descending into mechanical oblivion.

Adding a dash of intrigue is a remix of the title track from the lesser spotted Duke Dumont – a producer whose rise amidst the hype filled glory years of Justeece et al has been followed by a mere drip of remixes along with an undervalued entry into the Fabric mix canon. The producer’s take on “Elephant & Castle” is superb, focusing on a tweaked version of that heavenly arpeggio which is dipped in magical lightness. In addition, some of Yes Wizard’s crazier programming excesses are straightened out in favour of brilliantly crafted drums which lend the track an almost Tropicala infused funky flex. If this a clue as to how the much promised future material from Dumont might sound we are all very lucky.

Tony Poland