Review of Tiny Pause Album by Yppah

Yppah (real name Joe Corrales Jr. - put an I before the PP's in his stage name and you've got the pronunciation sorted) makes records that are frequently out of time. Not in terms of the pieces themselves, but more so when taking into account the wafer thin margins of twenty first century music, both artistic and commercial. One listen to 'Tiny Pause' and its qualities present themselves as unfamiliar yet they're charming, almost romantic: Corrales doesn't seek to immerse the listener in one particular style, or attempt to convey a meaning any deeper than your imagination. What he has done consistently since releasing debut 'You Are Beautiful At All Times' in 2006 is offer a realm in which the mind can wander, and here on his fourth album that almost rapturous sense of freedom remains his one thematic consistency.

Yppah Tiny Pause Album

There's also a little pressure and expectation to meet. 'Tiny Pause''s antecedent 'Eighty One' - informed by a passion for communion with the elements in the form of his discovery of surfing - generated critical accolades by the dozen, leading to a palpable sense of anticipation this time round.  Whilst the temptation not to tinker with the formula too much was surely there, instead of varying the little things, he has instead re-adapted the production process in its entirety, going to "Real" instruments and away from software and laptop technocracy. The results, in case anyone were worried, are still readily identifiable, if perhaps the trigger points are somewhat different.

This more organic approach still combines elements of shoegaze, trippy breaks and electronica, similar in tone to Ulrich Schauss or Tycho. On 'Bushmills' the guitars are urgent, driving the music on to a sort of wigged out nirvana whilst a drum loop chatters nervously, the imprint of space and time rushing by - whilst you're not - is overpowering. Opener 'All Shades of Pink', though, is less assertive, a careful, delicate set of interlocking melodies and instruments mixed together into an imprecise but still beguiling world. It's followed by the even more crystalline 'Occasional Magic', complete with its fragmented voice and highly nurtured keyboards, a cocoon in Yppah sounds at their most fragile, psychedelic in the broadest meaning of the word.

There will, of course, be people who demand that this goes places, does things, becomes a destination rather than a travelogue, no matter how beautiful. These folks may be satisfied with the kinaesthetics of 'Little Dreamers' - all intricate, Boards of Canada layering with a pristine, rolling drum cycle - or 'Owl Beach II''s almost traditional construction, with words seeping through from Corrale's heavily cloistered other side of the membrane. Both are amongst his best work, proof that whatever the tools an ability to create form out of the intricacies of the void is still far more of a gift than composition merely ingrained by years of chanted, rote syntax.

In the end though, all art perishes by the relentless application of analysis. So much of 'Tiny Pause' is just god-damned gorgeous, free of pretence and crafted by a man who is clearly very much at peace with the world. Exhibit A for this thesis would/could be the mellifluous 'Spider Hands', or better still 'Separate Ways Forever', the latter an all synth, all eighties tribute to the most beautiful avatar you never saw, Maxine Headroom playing junkets from Kowloon Bay with equipment made from old egg boxes, hope and pieces of a soldered together fallen star. In short, it's wonderful. In a world where the facts no longer need to exist for us to be able to live in this spectacular lie, Yppah are providing the sound track to some of our most profound moments of inner discovery. Where we're going, you won't need a map.  


Andy Peterson

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