[sic] Magazine

Yellow6 – Close/r

yellow6 (real name Jon Attwood ), the thinking man’s guitarist, the connoisseurs choice, the former punk now pushing minimalism to the utmost limits, rejects the idea that he is ambient. When previously I tried to tag him as a ‘guitar Harold Budd’ , he claimed never to have heard Budd, nor to have paid over much attention to Eno or any of the early ambient pioneers. Fair enough. But when Attwood started y6 it was, what I suppose we’d call, guitar and electronics nugaze and he has moved steadily more and more….less. Recent y6 albums have been stretched out, Iberian guitar vistas with percussive beats few and far between. Sometimes Attwood is so laid back he’s horizontal. A cliché, I know, but many clichés are born out of a kind of truth and the horizon is prominent in y6 work.

This time around, Attwood has REALLY gone and done it. This album should probably be considered as more of a project or even a study . The tagline for Close/r is something like “Three chords. Ten collaborators” . The basic premise – Attwood conjured a simple guitar refrain, a three chord progression, albeit a languid one (35-40 seconds!) and then he sent it out to friends. So, whereas many artists rope in colleagues to remix their work, Attwood wanted his contemporaries to focus in on a specific movement and offer their interpretation. Once the results were back in, Attwood arranged them into three gargantuan tracks.

Close/r is 70 minutes of that same sequence. Yep, it’s relentless. I didn’t even know before I played it so I sat open mouthed as ‘Close/r One’ staggered past 6 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes etc before finally clocking in at 29 minutes long. 29 minutes of the same thing! Well no, actually the whole album is the same. Could this be a monumental pîss take, I thought? Or is it just monumental? The former is a delicious idea. y6 has his detractors and the thought of certain individuals sitting through Close/r, tormented to carpet-chewing degrees, is worth recording an album in itself. Sadly though, it is 99.9% certain to be a serious piece of work. And so it should be for it certainly made me think.

“There’s joy in repetition.”

If we’re saying Close/r is all the same thing, so what? So is a long, hot soak in the bath. But actually, crucially, it isn’t. That’s the point. Yes the chord sequence is the same. But each track takes that melody and builds upon it. Each of the three Close/r’s is a progression, putting layer upon layer of individual nuances into the piece. Close/r Two and Three are particularly rich. Indeed the climactic minutes of Close/r 2 almost take us out of the ‘foundation’ sequence altogether. (Fear not, it’s still there. It just sounds different)

After living with Close/r for a while it is obvious to me that the repetitive element is just a vehicle for the rest of the contributions. Here, the guitar is the car, Attwood is the driver, but his friends provide the scenery en route. It is almost not a y6 record in this respect. Where Close/r is revelatory is in its message. This record reveals the myriad possibilities open to recording artists. There are choices to be made at every turn. How to perform? What instruments to use? What key? How to record, produce, edit, mix and master? So many directions that a song can go in. Or in this case, one simple chord pattern. That now infamous sequence becomes a mantra, more emptying than filling. Close/r is greater than a project or a study, it’s a meditation.

An amazing and informative piece of work.

~CD comes in recycled card digipac on limited run of 300 only.~