When putting three fine exponents of modern, forward-thinking and experimental music in the same room, the hope is that something a little special is going to be the result. Yodok III are exactly that, all three recognisable by their contribution, and yet forced to go beyond that by the other two. Yodok III is primarily a study in ambient drone, but elements of genres as diverse as jazz, rock and even classical can be heard playing their part in this mind-bending tapestry.
A few gentle guitar loops slide us easily into '23:38', quintessential Dirk Serries offerings that relax and tease the listener. Almost imperceptibly, Tomas Järmyr's drumming builds from the sweet nothings of hushed cymbal kisses into full-on reckless abandon, staggering sweeps around the kit that manage to be both completely at odds and fitting at the same time. It is certainly from the jazz school of thought, but jazz this is not! The addition of the tuba from Kristoffer Lo helps to further blur the line between drone and jazz, but the avalanche of distortion and echo under which it is buried leaves us with a sumptuous and unique sound. Like a distant earthquake carried by the wind, it's too deep to be ethereal, and yet too ghostly to be concrete.
'23:30' is an altogether darker affair, the oppressive atmosphere sending chills down the spine. The uneasiness grows as seemingly random thumps of the drums slowly reveal themselves as complex patterns; like a blackboard full of impenetrable mathematics, the confusion gives way to awe-inspiring beauty as you finally make sense of it all. Music is the forgotten last discipline of maths, and here Yodok III have created that soundtrack re-joining the two, following an obscure set of laws whilst still finding enormous room in which to explore and enjoy.
Yodok III is a gorgeous, relaxing album that is everything drone music should be about. Vast in scale and imagination, the record shifts slowly to seep into the cracks in your mind though never allowed to become stale or repetitive. This is an album to take in leisurely, one to clear the head and revel in the spaces between, preferably with a glass of something rich and mature in hand.