Boomkat Product Review:
Influenced by horror games, nursery rhymes and gabber, Chinese producer Yikii's first proper full-length is like Tim Burton on mushrooms - like a soundtrack to a Chinese reboot of "A Nightmare Before Christmas" rendered in luscious 4D. Bonkers and brilliant.
Since 2017, Changchun-based Yikii has released over 20 albums and EPs, but "Crimson Poem" is her first fully developed statement. It's an ambitious album that started life as an exploration of microtonality before evolving into a set of quirky, psychedelic songs that pull in ideas from across the spectrum of contemporary culture, from hard dance and avant-pop to traditional Chinese music and drone. But no influence looms larger on "Crimson Poem" than video games. The album sounds completely plugged into the fantasy realm, and uses disparate genre hallmarks with the fizzy abandon of Yuzo Koshiro's "Streets of Rage" soundtrack or CoLD SToRAGE's "Wipeout" score.
Yikii has no intention of making functional dance music and instead channels pop ideas through a narcotic haze of abstract noise, gothic soundscaping, airlock club and chiming classical music. At any point in the album it's like hearing multiple personalities communicating with each other, guided by Yikii's sugar-sweet vocals. There's trip-hop, trance and sadistic industrial noise on 'Disillusionment', Bernard Herrmann-style "Psycho" strings, ambient drone and traditional Chinese music on 'Phantasmagoria!', hardstyle and evil nursery rhymes on 'Afterimage In Ruin', gabber, punk, industrial and classical on 'Scavenger's Daughter', and so much more.
"Crimson Poem" is a unique record that perfectly encapsulates Yikii's personal world and spectrum of interests. It's surreal and cute, but never cloying and succeeds in being eclectic without ever losing coherence. Yikii's world is often terrifying, but it's never uninviting: imagine Björk, Danny Elfman, Pharmakon, Gabber Modus Operandi and Ziúr shaken into a viscous purple cocktail and you'll have some idea where this one's going.