EP Review: Yves Tumor – The Asymptotical World

It seems that Yves’ long-awaited return fully captures their punk persona. The Asymptotical World is Yves Tumor’s latest EP and judging from the project’s title, could it mean that Yves’ capabilities are etching closer and closer to infinity?

First previewed over a year ago live at the White Oak Music Hall, March 2020, the opening track ‘Jackie’ conjures a scenario of a heartbreak and the desire for love. As shown in ‘Jackie’’s trippy music video, the world seems to be reaching ultimatum and Yves cries out to their lover ‘I ain’t sleeping, refuse to eat a thing’. The self-inflicted pain of the lyrics over ‘Jackie’’s distorted guitar crescendos emphasises the realism of the song’s heartbreak. Love is a recurring theme of many Yves Tumor songs consistently captured so well, notable mentions include: ‘Honesty’, ‘Kerosene!’ and ‘Super Stars’.

Though ‘Jackie’ was the EP’s staple track, there is no doubt that track 2 provides an equally chilling experience. ‘Crushed Velvet’’s intro opens with an increasingly amplified electronic cry before Yves sings in their slightly reverberated voice ‘Crushed Velvet, I’m in heaven. Feel myself when, I’m in crushed velvet.’ Seeming to be the only thing keeping them sane, their lyrical focus on the glamorous fabric only precedes the tremolo’d reverb at the song’s climax. A climax which ejects a tumultuous animalistic cry. A cry reminiscent of the eruptive shriek on the 2018 track ‘Licking an Orchid’. It’s a perfect outburst of emotion before Tumor concludes the track in a ring of pedal boarded distortion.

The more intense, upbeat song ‘Secrecy Is Incredibly Important to Both of Them’ feels almost like an inter-dimensional chase through time with its drum loop carried throughout to uphold the songs pace. Being the longest track on the album, the intense freedom in dancing to the song truly gets you lost within ‘the chase’, almost ceasing to end. Though Yves lets the soundscape control the majority of the track, after countless listens, you’re able to perfectly time Yves’ spaced-out lyrics like, ‘How can I miss you?’ whilst rocking out. A subtly effective touch.

From the amplified ring through to the impromptu outro, ‘Tuck’ is no doubt the EP’s rawest track. With a feature from London-Berlin duo NAKED, Yves Tumor allows Agnes Gryczkowska to sing, and scream, over the track’s entirety, fully taking control. Gryczkowska’s verses are truly raw and explosive performances, her ability to quickly shift voices between a raspy whisper and a turbulent scream and back to a whisper again makes ‘Tuck’ a theatrically dark masterpiece.

‘…And Loyalty Is A Nuisance Child’. What seems to follow suit as a continuation of ‘Tuck’, track 5 is another solo by Yves. They are both similar in their impromptu endings as well as the vocal shifts from mere whispers to tempestuous outbursts. If one thing is certain here, it’s that vocals from both NAKED and Yves Tumor would be appealing, and slightly hellish, on the same track.

Concluding the EP is the final track ‘Katrina’. It’s a song which opposes the others, taking a more nihilistic approach when you process the lyrics. Seeming to be in a deteriorated state of mind, Yves repeats ‘What’s the point? Why bother?’ over the muffled guitar and drums. The soft-spoken vocals from Olesya Ivanischeva fade between being clearly audible and being drowned out by Yves’ vocals and the warped guitar crescendos. Yet in the track’s outro, the tender acoustics bring clarity to Ivanischeva’s message, ‘some time you’ll learn a thing or two, from your brother Tripp’. The ending is a sorrowful one, creating a semantic field of suffering and futility. A closing which leaves the listener in quiet introspection.  The Asymptotical World EP questions the worth of love and life. Is it infinitely futile? Will it ever reach its closing point? Who can safely say? What can be said though, is that the mystery around Yves Tumor’s lyrics and post-rock sound makes it all the more Asymptotical.

The Asymptotical World EP is out now on Warp Records.

Find out more on Yves Tumor’s official website.

Review by Jacob Coburn-Blaauw

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