yg:drasil", subtitled "Modern Interpretation of Northern Sounds", is Boreal Taiga's fourth release with Wayfarer Records and also his first double album.
The recording, clocking over 2,5 hours, features ambient and deep space tracks on the first cd that explore the vast regions of our Arctic environments. On the second disc though, there’s a switch to down tempo ("Lofoten Night"), chill-out techno and ambient dub tracks in the tradition of the Basic Channel label ("Rein Dear") along more experimental pieces with beats that continue the further and in-depth exploration of the northern sounds and environments.
The lengthy recording, oncemore containing many binaural recordings, was inspired by Northern Tribal mythologies (such as the Sami, Evenk, Aleutian and more) as well as the ancient Scandinavian myths based on the poetic Edda. "Yg:drasil" was created from a lot of older material the composer wanted to release. But instead of using that older material, he wrote new tracks based on those sounds. Therefore, a lot of the tracks have something in common with two previous albums,"Northern Shamans" and "Podkamennaya Tunguska". Both are on the composers list for future release after some proper remastering.
A closer look to the albums music reveals the first part of well mastered and produced"yg:drasil" is an exciting journey into beautifully rendered ambient and drone spaces, accompanied by lots of found samples and an array of field recordings.
One can e.g. hear faint radio sounds, crackling ice, wind, rain, jet pilots chatting, small stones, shaman drums, radio frequencies from space, astronomers discussing the Southern Magellanic Clouds (you can hear this on the track "Antarctic Magellanic Clouds"), cuckoo birds (featured on the third track "Gullesfjorden"), helicopters, airplanes and much more. Besides that, I love the intrinsic stillness and hidden dynamic undercurrent running through the music, as e.g. in "Conifer Polar", "Above the Taiga" and the mesmerizing "Flying low over the high glacier". With headpnones, this stuff works miracles.
As said previously, the second part of"yg:drasil" is a different story, as JamesDe (aka Boreal Taiga) wanted to create a more varied sound and take the plunge into the down tempo and experimental avenues. A more pure and accomplished form of down-tempo can be heard on the smooth pieces"Arctic Doppler" and "Discovering New Ice"found at the end of the release. Notable other takes here are e.g. "Aleutian Village", that contains an actual Alaskan Aleutian tribe sample of children singing, and "Tunguska Evenk" (where JamesDe implemented real Evenk tribal chants and prayers in the music). Boreal Taiga’s already mentioned albums"Northern Shamans" and "Podkamennaya Tunguska" explore these tribes in more detail and sounds.
What the composer especially loved a lot about this side of the album’s music are the different percussion explorations, both challenging and enjoyable. On that behalf, these all reconnect to the more percussion-based tracks created in the earlier days of the Boreal Taiga project with a more ethnic and down tempo feel.
Nice going, JamesDe!