November 13, 2003

Test Spin: Y.A.C.H.T.

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Y.A.C.H.T. is Jonathan Bechtolt. That’s it. Just a one man show. Well, it’s Jona (as he is more commonly called) and his laptop. And the first electronic squiggles of melody on Jona’s latest release, Super Warren MMIV, speak to a changing ideal. It’s no longer one man and a guitar to conquer the world, but one man, a software bundle, and a righteous Mac. Granted, this might be a slight exaggeration of the change, but still, the means and medium of music are rapidly being transformed with the populism of the digital age. Nevertheless, new iterations and styles can be easily tied to the old as the end remains the same: tried and true self-expression.

For the forty minutes of this album, I didn’t miss a guitar once. Jona’s mechanically pumping soundscape of rhythmic clicks and glitches contrasting with smooth, warm, gushing, oozing, melodic drones presents a unique world; abstract in nature but palpable in feeling. Beneath this electronic soup lies some semblance of actual instrumentation as Jona compliments his drum machine with the actual artifact, the old-fashioned skins, which he plays on a number of tracks. The effect of out-of-this-world digital sequences combined with a touch of the familiar functions as Jona’s hook. And once he pushes play on his laptop, you can’t help but be mesmerized.


Archived article by Andrew Gilman