The Dark Side Of The Duck is a revival of the music played by a band
that - to all intents and purposes - never existed.
From the late '70s to
the mid '80s, a group of four English musicians put together some good ideas,
and ... did nothing with them. No gigs, no records, nothing. But
over the last 20 years keyboardist Martin Morgan has taken those ideas, recorded
all parts on a keyboard system, and released the music for the first time.
The all-instrumental is subtitled An Instrumental Album Of Concepts By Yak,
and the result will remind many of Morgan's compatriot and fellow
one-man-keyboard-band Karda Estra - or perhaps of Sweden's Bjorn Lynne. The
1970s influences are very strong though, and you'll hear similarities to Pete Bardens and Eddie Jobson and occasionally even a bit of Keith Emerson. Just don't expect the very organic quality of music we associate with those
early progressive artists. There's a definite emphasis on modern-day electronic keyboards
here, and as well sampled as his Kurzweil may be, they're still samples.
The one-man-and-a-keyboard formula is reasonably successful here. Morgan attempts to emulate a full rock quartet, and does a
good job. The 'bass guitar' work is competent, sampled lead guitar work is rare, and the
percussion is very well programmed but still ... programmed. But the keyboard
clearly the lead instrument here, and along with very solid songwriting and fine
keyboard flair, the reincarnated Yak is a very listenable body of work.
Its 32 brief minutes are filled with 8 short songs that will have many
thinking 'Camel'. The 'Tron-like samples and the pretty piano work in
"Frustration" contrast with the spacey electronica, providing a soundtrack
quality to a restlessly changing song that develops more tempo shifts in its
four point five minutes than many modern epics do in twice the time span. Opening track "Theme" is a brooding piece that introduces a theme of neither
the mood nor the melodies, but its ominous darkness definitely builds tension.
And "Aragorn" - yes, there's a bit of Tolkein in here - features rich, deliberate, pleasing piano
and orchestral sounds - and like most of the pieces, there's more classical orientation
that rock.' save the drums, and a few pleasing (sampled) guitar notes that
enhance the texture.
Yak's music deserves to find wide appeal.
1. Theme (2:16)
2. Aragorn (5:18)
3. Leylines Of Yak (4:33)
4. Yakrise (5:49)
5. Frustration (4:36)
6. Migration (3:13)
7. Earthogrub (3:09)
8. The Swan (3:21)