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Yves Tumor
Safe In The Hands Of Love Eoin Murray , September 6th, 2018 18:22

On his Warp debut, the Tennessee-born, Turin-based artist oozes with newfound confidence

Evolving from the coarse, engulfing experimentalism that defined his 2016 PAN LP Serpent Music and mixtapes When Man Fails You and Experiencing The Deposit Of Faith, Yves Tumor drags away the dense sonic shroud. Here, the enigmatic producer, multi-instrumentalist and performer is exposed, assured and vulnerable.

He welcomes murky R&B, indie psychedelics and, most strikingly, his own voice further into the fray than ever before. The result is an album replete with cutting honesty and desperation, his lyrics stark and fragile.

In the lead-up to the surprise digital release of this LP yesterday (the physical release date is 12 October), Tumor shared singles ‘Noid’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’. These tracks and their accompanying videos showed us an artist laid bare, more assertive and willing to be witnessed unadorned. The lyrics in the percussive, string-sample lead ‘Noid’ invoke the fear and trauma induced by police brutality as he sings of fearing for his life, being scared to go outside and experiencing PTSD and depression. It all comes accompanied with Yves Tumor’s most (only?) hook-laden chorus to date as he calls “911, 911, 911 / Can’t trust them.” ‘Licking An Orchid’ is a heartrending, toxically romantic duet with vocalist with James Kay, all to the tune of hollowed out psych-pop and R&B.

The experimentalism isn’t all gone, mind you. ‘Economy of Freedom’ finds Tumor teaming up with dark-ambient producer Croatian Amor for a dark, absorbing and rhythmic cut. The harrowing ‘Hope in Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’ finds him teaming up with Oxhy (who also featured on Serpent Music) and Danish experimental noise and drone deviant Puce Mary for the album’s most unsettling cut. The distorted spoken word vocal is vivid, violent and physical, reminding us that, despite the sensitivity that this album welcomes, Yves Tumor is an artist capable of creating shock and unease in the most rewarding fashion.

Final track ‘Let the Lioness in You Flow Freely’ sums up this album’s mission statement with clamorous energy. Relentless percussion, Mogwai-reminiscent guitars and an unhinged vocal refrain draws thing to a close with a viciousness and rawness never before heard from this artist on record (though his live shows have more than made up for that). Yves Tumor has let assertiveness, assuredness and vulnerability run wild within him for Safe In The Hands Of Love and the result is magisterial and deeply engaging.

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