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Yusuf Azak - Turn on the Long Wire

  by Lisa Torem

published: 11 / 11 / 2010

Yusuf Azak - Turn on the Long Wire
Label: Song By Toad Records
Format: CD


Intriguing debut album from Glasgow-based singer-songwriter of Turkish descent, Yusuf Azak, which uses highly unusual production techniques

Yusuf Azak is a Glasgow-based singer-songwriter of Turkish descent who seems to enjoy blending heavenly harmonies with slick production techniques. His voice is distinct, unpolished and natural. And, though the production can be distracting, it is pleasing in that it is clever and ahead of its time, in the way that John Cage or Yoko Ono were. Azak originally was from Aberdeen and his early influences were blues-oriented. Early songwriting efforts developed from his fascination with Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. Though he recorded his first EP, 'Gazelle', on a four-track, he set his technical sights further on his follow-up 'Light Procession'. It was here that his attention to tape looping came to the fore. What follows ultimately and currently are subtle counter-melodies that crouch barely beneath the major melodies. In his debut album, 'Turn on the Long Wire', he exploits this underserved medium. It is fascinating, though some may find that this technical impulse buries the themes of the music too abruptly. That said, there’s some good musicianship, here, though the purist of the pure who want the ABA structure to be the major focus, may feel unnerved. ‘Rosalie’ begins with staccato notes that disappear unexpectedly and crouch beneath full-bodied, Spanish-style progressions. Azak’s voice fluxuates between erratic and sonorous. ‘The Key Underground’ has an engaging percussive track. The stopping and starting doesn’t deflect from the final product which is forceful and fantastical in its escapism. ‘Thin Air’ is by far the most complex melodically, shifting between a chorus of happy angels and a progressive rock motif of the ‘Yes’ variety. ‘Stepping Stone’ finds Azak’s grainy voice set against strings which creates a satisfying, though sombere track. ‘Eastern Sun’ has one of the more lilting melodies, commercial in the sense that the phrases are repetitive, making it a bit more palatable than some of the less-formulated numbers. It is also lovely because it contains some stunning guitar work. Yusuf Azak is a one-man band and an interesting one, too. It will be a thrill to see how he follows up 'Turn on the Long Wire' and whether he will set fire to a completely unique genre.

Track Listing:-
1 Your Story
2 Time to Kill
3 Rosalie
4 The Key Underground
5 Thin Air
6 Stepping Stone
7 Easter Sun
8 Turn on the Long Wire
9 Christabel Blues

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