Album: YELLOW6 – Painted Sky (Resonant RESCD022 2007)

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In his Guardian column today, John Harris wrote a typically glib piece about instrumental music, prompted by the fact that the Beastie Boys have had the temerity to release an album without words. Not having heard it, I’m not in a position to comment on how good it is, but the argument that music somehow lacks focus without someone warbling over it is pretty ludicrous. He made a few exceptions, including Mogwai and “some jazzers and the finest electronic artists” (fields in which he has shown little interest in or grasp of in the past). I’m not going to start a fight between instrumental music and vocal music. It’s utterly absurd. I’ve heard a lot of good music ruined by poor singers, or just by dreadful lyrics. And a lot of instrumentals that could bore the paint off walls. So what. It’s an utterly fatuous argument.

If Harris has heard Yellow 6 (which I somehow doubt since they’ve not had any hit singles), he probably hated them. Painted Sky is as bleached and dry as the parched desert landscape depicted on the cover. It’s a collection of languid, atmospheric guitar instrumentals that sound both ancient and sad – like requiems for a lost world. Sometimes small and forlorn, sometimes epic and cinematic, this is music that yearns for something elemental. It is the work of Leicester based Jon Attwood who has been operating under the Yellow 6 monicker for almost a decade and has built up an extensive discography over the years. Painted Sky is wholeheartedly recommended to fans of Scenic, Rothko, Pan American, spaghetti western soundtracks and anybody who appreciates that music can have a strong emotional pull without words.

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