Photo Credit Iona Wolff
The debut single available today (on EOA Recordings)
From the debut album ‘I Am Aladdin’ out October 16th
“And Let Them Glow” is the debut single by yllwshrk, a thrillingly original new band who fuse alt-rock and contemporary classical music on their debut album ‘I Am Aladdin’, due October 16th (on EOA Recordings).
‘I Am Aladdin’ features musical collaborations with the London Contemporary Orchestra, Berlin electronic duo Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma, saxophone virtuoso Nick Roth, young Scottish jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie, contemporary classical composer Linda Buckley, and Scottish singer-songwriter Hannah Read, who guests on “And Let Them Glow” together with the Maxwell String Quartet, winners of the 2017 Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition.
Scored for the intimate line-up of acoustic guitar, string quartet, and male and female voices, “And Let Them Glow” is a very personal song for composer and guitarist Ian Anderson, the core individual behind the yllwshrk concept, who cites the likes of Mahler and Prokofiev as big influences as well as boundary-pushing contemporary artists such as Björk and Radiohead.
“The song is about my great aunt, the closest person I had to a grandparent, and my experience of watching her slowly fade to a pale shadow of her former self due to Alzheimer’s disease,” comments Anderson. “Once so vibrant and loving, she gradually became miserable, confused and paranoid, hallucinating due to the cocktail of drugs she was given to stay alive. Is this kindness? Is this what we really want for our loved ones? Is that what I would want for myself?”
In the accompanying video, directed by Lewis Landini, a dancer explores the crumbling remains of a derelict theatre in a moving film that echoes the song’s themes of memory, ageing, identity and loss.
Hailing from both sides of Hadrian’s Wall, members of yllwshrk have appeared on albums such as Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Actress’ LAGEOS, Thom Yorke’s Anima, and Foals’ Holy Fire as members of the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO). They have performed live with artists such as Little Simz, Goldfrapp, Ry X, Eric Clapton, Deltron 3030, and Elbow, as well as regularly giving classical chamber music recitals across the UK & Europe and performing and recording with many of the UK’s leading orchestras.
The balancing of musical genres from drastically different philosophies and traditions is reflected in the album’s title: ‘I Am Aladdin’ references BlackRock Inc.’s Aladdin programme, which appears in Adam Curtis’ darkly compelling film HyperNormalisation as an example of how modern technocrats attempt to manage the chaos and complications of the real world. This unease with much of the modern world is explored throughout I Am Aladdin, the tone and subject of the songs often taking inspiration from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror or Frankie Boyle’s old Guardian columns.
yllwshrk have summed up their spirit of experimentation — as well as the ethos of cross-genre and cross-art-form collaboration — in their band name, taken from ‘The Yellow Shark’, Frank Zappa’s foray into contemporary classical music alongside Ensemble Modern.
yllwshrk aren’t rock. They aren’t classical. They aren’t a series of algorithms either. They’re musical misfits who embrace the current blurring of genres and push that to the extreme. What other band uses tuning forks to create beats, has a saxophone hooked up to an amp so it can control feedback pitches, or chucks a vibrator into a Steinway piano just to see what happens?
yllwshrk: Sam West vocals, Matt Isaac lead guitars, Ian Anderson guitars/string arrangements, Dave Brown bass/synths, Feargus Brennan drums/percussion, David Donaldson electronics/audio manipulation
yllwshrk’s debut album ‘I Am Aladdin’ will be released via EOA Recordings on October 16, 2020