Why YlangYlang Rules by Kathleen Speckert (2017)
Every time I see YlangYlang (Catherine Debard) perform live I have one of those “EXCUSE ME, MUST RUN HOME AND MAKE MUSIC NOW” moments. Coupled immediately thereafter with the “OH MY GOD HOW DOES SHE DO IT, HOW DOES SHE MAKE IT SOUND SO GOOD” moment.
Debard’s tracks are so expertly produced that they levitate sonic worlds through which she leads us confidently in exploration. 4real. 4REAL!
Some of these worlds are sparsely populated, droning before us with ethereal rivers of swelling synths and cold, pattering drums. Other worlds grip the belly with rich bass grooves and a morris code of kick drum that moves us pulsing forward in unison. At times, we’re allowed to get just the right amount of lost in ambient bliss before being called back by an unexpectedly catchy, melodic utterance or devastatingly poignant lyric.
In these worlds, the voice of Debard reverberates Inga Copeland-esque intonal ruminations that grasp at mundanity, the existential. They contemplate love, loneliness, alienation, and departure. They echo the words of philosophers and capture flittering moments of experience, memory, environment. They echo thoughts that have run through my own mind; the questions I am barely confident enough to ask myself, much less proclaim aloud.
The words reveal the worlds they occupy to be extensions of Debard’s own self. And then we recognize the music as an intimate invitation to explore landscapes of her own making. Spaces in which we are immeasurably benefited by her asking the questions.
“Is this really love?
Or do I love the reflection of me
While I experience you
As you experience me?”
“Undo the structure of Success and Failure
Question your Pleasure…We are looking for a Resolution
No two performances I have witnessed ever feel the same.
It’s like she places a water faucet at the crown of your head and…How cold will it be?
A warm bath of amoebic synths?
A cold goosebumpy swirl of bit-reduced samples and gravel-filled filter sweeps?
Whatever temperature, it is always, undeniably, rinsing.
So do not miss an opportunity to rinse in these most magical sonic waters.
Kathleen Speckert is a writer and music maker formerly from Toronto (where she performed in ZONES), currently living in Guelph. Catch her recording live shows for CFRU 93.3 FM, making new friends named Martha at Guelph Public Library or tweeting about electoral reform (@kathlqeen).