Elegance and melancholy embracing post-jazz
Second effort by Russian instrumental quintet YOJO, "Abduction" develops the classy and smoky ambiance depicted in the band's first opus, however with a few evolutions. Still displaying impressions of desolation and sadness, the music becomes softer, less oppressive, more jazz-oriented. The orchestration is reinforced by the presence of five invited wind instrumentalists. The guitars are less present and aggressive, resulting in a smoother listening experience than on the band's eponymous debut.
Once again, the surrealistic cover art - this time reminding René Magritte - faithfully transcribes the album's content. The compositions offer a sensation of something vanishing, an evanescent humanity in the modern crowded world, like if people were feeling more and more stranger to each other...
The opener is contradictory reference to the famous 70's fusion band. "Weather Report" is not funky, but rather a nice fusion/jazz title, soothing and mesmerizing instead. The cool "Contact" is quite somber and depressive, whereas the delicate "5 A.M." reveals bright moments of hope immersed in an enigmatic atmosphere. Our journey through the mysterious haze continues with "Cold Case", a soft heavy prog track, and the interrogative touching "Wipers", full of melancholy.
The "Tourist" from this record can only wander into a desolated land, maybe populated in appearance, but empty in essence. Driven by trumpet, this sad and soft waltz is pleasant, although a bit lengthy. The relaxing "Swell" displays rather strange obscure lights progressively increasing in intensity, until a free-jazz explosion. Back to depression with the nostalgic "Jump in the Mirror", evoking alternatively an once familiar but now torn environment, the mirror being the transition bridge. The emotional trip ends with the longest track of the disc, "Hazebook". Certainly a pun referring the well-known social network, these 7 minutes of sorrow are calm, sensitive, nearly aquatic. Is nowadays' ocean of over-connectivity just made of individual drops of loneliness? Perhaps...
More accessible than their first opus, "Abduction" offers a clever and suave revisit of post-rock / heavy-prog through jazz's orchestration and mindset. Again, the interest is present and the composition quality is homogeneous. Well anchored in the 21th Century and its human interrogations, YOJO confirms its talent by refining its musical style, painting melancholic, smoky, dehumanized vanishing landscapes. Another land of grey and pink...
As a conclusion, if you enjoy original and elegant modern jazz soundscapes, don't let this album being "abducted" from you!