Jasmine Guffond
Yellow Bell


4.0
excellent

Review

by JamieTwort USER (35 Reviews)
March 14th, 2015 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist


In the ancient legend of the Yellow Bell it is said that in the third millennium B.C., Ling-Lun was sent by the emperor to the western mountains where he would ultimately obtain the fundamental pitches of music. He achieved this by cutting bamboo pipes, one of which would become known as the Yellow Bell. This is the pipe that essentially formed the very foundations of Chinese music, the tone from which all other pitches were derived, a symbol of universal harmony.

Jasmine Guffond’s drifting drones are her own Yellow Bell, the basis on which she builds her softly layered works of ambience. Her music moves freely and seamlessly without ever distancing itself from its foundations. Yellow Bell is haunting yet warm, her compositions full of a life yet subdued, augmented by carefully integrated field recordings and the occasional use of Grouper-esque vocals. The title track goes through multiple movements without ever sounding forced, concluding with a slow almost static drone during which time almost seems to stand still. Elephant is equally captivating, with its dense, unsettling atmosphere building to a climax that sees the first appearance of her evocative but suitably unimposing voice.

The album’s penultimate track, Lisa’s Opening, is exemplary of everything Guffond excels at on Yellow Bell. The eerie opening slowly turns into gentle melodies which are then met by the sound of voices, those of people engaged in light conversation, before concluding with the intimate voice of Guffond herself who in this moment recalls and even exceeds the most hauntingly beautiful vocal passages of Grouper’s Ruins. The album’s few brief vocal passages however are where the Liz Harris similarities end, as the ambient soundscapes Guffond has created here are very much her own and of her own aesthetic. With Yellow Bell Guffond has conceived a work of great maturity that is both cohesive and unpredictable, a rare combination within the current ambient music scene and if the aforementioned genre has anything better to offer in 2015 we’ll be looking at something very special indeed.



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user ratings (27)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
March 14th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AOTY so far.



Went for a more concise approach with this review.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 14th 2015


6744 Comments


was putting off checking this out, but now I guess I'll have to.

JamieTwort
March 14th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Jac.



I'm confident both of you will like this a lot.

RadicalEd
March 14th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Johnny, I'm disappointed that you still haven't ;)



This is one of my faves of the year so far as well. Great review Jamie.

Cygnatti
March 14th 2015


32950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh sweet shit Jamie. Def one of my favs so far!

JamieTwort
March 14th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys.

DrJohn
March 14th 2015


1041 Comments


Concise indeed; I enjoyed reading through this. Might even check...

rockandmetaljunkie
March 14th 2015


8574 Comments


feature potential

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
March 14th 2015


6744 Comments


it came out in January, so no. otherwise, yeah, excellent write-up for what I'm hoping will be one of the best ambient albums I'll hear this year :3

rockandmetaljunkie
March 14th 2015


8574 Comments


"it came out in January"

indeed, didn't pay attention

TwigTW
March 14th 2015


3825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, concise and informative. This didn't blow me away the first time I listened, but if you say it's an AOTY contender I'll give it another shot.

JS19
March 14th 2015


7419 Comments


JT likes therefore must check out

JamieTwort
March 14th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:]



Cheers guys.

RadicalEd
March 15th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really feel like a lot of people would dig this, it's pretty accessible for an ambient release because it has so many nice melodies.

Phlegm
March 15th 2015


7247 Comments


glad this got reviewed!

JamieTwort
March 15th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes this is definitely pretty accessible.

Sup Phlegm

Phlegm
March 15th 2015


7247 Comments


just cooling to some Bud Powell and drinking choc milk! you?

JamieTwort
March 15th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not much, just jamming some Tull.

Cygnatti
March 17th 2015


32950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

0 new ratings tho :'|

RadicalEd
March 17th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really sad. Sputnik sucks at checking out ambient in general.



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