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Yak: Dark Side Of The Duck

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 sounds are 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.


Track Listing:

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)

Added: July 3rd 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 3274
Language: english

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