Boomkat Product Review:
Originators of “dirty ambient”, OYC mark nearly 40 years of skin in the game with chiral volumes of beautifully brooding atmospheres by the long serving group’s Andrew Hulme and Roger Horberry
‘A Tension of Opposites’ marks a contemporary high water mark of O Yuki Conjugate’s scattered, ongoing explorations since 1982, over which time they’ve graced some of post-punk and industrial music’s finest labels and seminal compilations such as Final Image’s ‘Nightlands’ suite and the ‘Insane Music’ series in 1987 - with tracks more recently appearing on sly sets from Light Sounds Dark. Currently in their 4th incarnation, which is coincidentally their original line-up, and following a burst of releases in each preceding decade, they stick to the quietly nerve-riding, improvised style at the core of what they do, taking cues from the experience of 2020 lockdown to conjure deliciously smeared synth textures and tones that arc from crepuscular, phosphorescing to scenes streaked with noctilucent thizz over the album’s 84’ arc.
The first half is all Roger Horberry’s work, created in isolation from his musical partner, and limning a palpable sense of sorrow and frustration with his machines. However, trust it’s not depressive, rather it’s more expressive of the zeitgeist, but informed by a timeless sense of chamber like melancholy balanced by hopeful melodies. In a stark contrast, Andrew Hulme mans the second half, condensing his thoughts into four durational darkside explorations pregnant with doom, yet allowing for moments of redemptive bliss between the shearing synth strings of ‘Unfolding’ and passages recalling The Sprawl’s techgnostic pads in ‘Entracement’, and the exquisite illbience of ‘I Don’t Know I’m Not a Dream’ calling to mind the oneiric sensuality of Cosey Fanni Tutti’s ‘Time To Tell’, perhaps an apt comparison as Hulme is currently helming the film adaptation of her incredible biography.