Review: Yol – Hideous Response (Cardboard Club, Feb 14)

“IF I WAS A TINY FASHION DOG I WOULD PISS EVERYWHERE IN CONSTANT RAGE AT THE EUGENICS PROGRAM THAT STOPPED ME FROM BEING A WOLF!” screams UK poet, improviser, and musician Yol on “Fashion Dog,” but it takes them quite a long time to arrive at that lucid of a sentence. The opening track on Hideous Response, the artist’s new tape release for Cardboard Club, is everything abstract lingual performance should be: humorous, confusing, harrowing, unsettling, fun. Yol stumbles and sputters over the bizarre hypothetical with the shuddering inconsistency of someone wracked with tears and (appropriately) the anger of a tiny fashion dog who wasn’t allowed to be a wolf, forcing out words and phrases out of order, repeating things incorrectly, shouting until the limitations of their own body cuts them off. One might think there’s no way this maniacal intensity can be maintained for the album’s full duration—and one would be very, very wrong. The bewildering vocal utterances are absent on “Flooring,” but the high volumes and overall abrasiveness are still very much present throughout the nearly five minute snare drum improvisation, recorded at such a close distance that the impacts and hits are nothing short of deafening. The curiously ethereal instrumentals and lunatic babbling of “Updated Fairground Ride” gives off barn sour vibes, “Shutting Up” whips up screeching object clatter into punishing harsh noise–scapes, words die battered and bloody in the artist’s throat on “Sanding Off” despite being surrounded by a tranquil outdoor environment. This is an uncompromising study of sound and a human’s role in its production, manifested as the ramblings and discarded litter of a complete madman. Try not having nightmares after hearing the title track. I dare you.