Young Palace finds a rare innocence in music created in the perplexing world of experimental electronics. Beatific moments of unique introspective explorations always seem to find their way through the elements that squeak and strain with the harsh tonal attitude of industrialised electronic textures. Characterised by the inventive nature of music concrete and re-appropriated in the contemporary mêlée of experimental grime beats and low lying drones, Young’s music is very curious indeed. Our first taste of this Brooklyn native arrived through Fragments, and while Young Palace remains anonymous, we find a very distinct personality in the music, one that has been cemented with Locus, the second instalment in the artist’s sonic biography.
The subtle strokes of inconsistent melodies from a piano, floating above the high-pitched tones and deep murmur of a drone, bring a unique contrast to a composition like 3. Young Palace shows a rare sincere compositional focus in the way the artist juxtaposes these elements. It’s not the inconsistent ramblings of a musician, but rather the calculated manoeuvres of a composer– manoeuvres that might have their origin in the subconscious but refined in the tangible world of the conscious. It’s like YP is looking for some element of beauty in a world where optimism has absconded in the pessimistic sonic landscapes the artist is solely responsible for.
As in Fragments, Young negates any subjective familiarity with the music, preferring indifferent numbers as titles for the tracks, only offering a rare glimpse of what lies behind the music in the title of the album. Locus: “the effective or perceived location of something abstract.” Music is the vehicle to this obscure location, but I get the sense however that the physical dimensions of this place are hardly tangible. Hiding somewhere deep within the subconscious of the artist the location is an intimidating fantasy that would be impossible to even comprehend from our removed reality, and we have to turn to music, a most abstract art form to find this most abstract location. Young relays this idea of a place in cinematic textures of impeccable design. At the height of the album digital elements hover around the stereo field like some biomechanical bug infested swamp as various subtractive synthesisers grow in the foreground through the monotonous repetition of notes that push as much as the pull at the flow of the compositions. The tracks are not photographs glued in time, but rather moving pictures of living things, listlessly progressing towards the next scene. The tracks try to form a continuum with each other, with a clear development towards a meta-narrative through compositions that act completely independently of each other.
During the effervescent plot of this narrative, inconsistent beat-arrangements often come to the fore and shows an affinity with the experimental purveyors that YP referenced in recent Electronic Explorations mix. Young Palace sits somewhere between these peers – somewhere between the arresting design of Valeario Tricoli and the rapturous rhythms of M.E.S.H. The artist very rarely deals in the same extremes of his contemporaries however, opting for a subtler execution in the end result. Where someone like Tricoli might go from quiet to loud in an instant, to create tension, Young Palace gradually builds to the moment. Tracks 4 and 7 swell in this manner and the listener has no choice but to bob along to the sounds as they grow and subside on their way to that abstract idea of a location, a location I still have my reservations about.
Young Palace is utterly hypnotising on Locus, and you’ll find yourself wistfully listening to the music in the background before it utterly consumes every part of your life. The stark nature of the music – something that is truly unique for the type of sounds YP works in – leaves the door wide open for a completely immersive experience that will have you reflect some time after the bell has tolled.