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Yacht - See Mystery Lights

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Artist: Yacht

Album: See Mystery Lights

Label: DFA

Review date: Aug. 4, 2009


Yacht - "Psychic City" (See Mystery Lights)


Itís really difficult to find fault with the music on Jona Bechtoltís latest album as Yacht, See Mystery Lights. Not because itís particularly creative or groundbreaking or catchy, but rather because it was made for such a specific context that judging it out of that context makes little sense. Lights certainly has its charms Ė cribbed Afropop, bits like A Rainbow in Curved Air, and a general poppy through-line Ė but those charms wear thin when placed up against an entire albumís worth of monotonous, mobius strip dance beats.

Perhaps Bechtolt and his new music partner Claire Evans didnít mean for this to be specifically for indie dance parties, but thatís what Lights is, and in that respect, it works quite well. Itís repetitive enough to get people into a rhythm; the beats do what they are supposed to do, and one can picture an entire living roomís worth of kids in fake Indian apparel jumping up and down drunkenly to ďItís Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want.Ē

The question is, how do these 10 tracks work together as an album, when they could have easily been released as individual mp3s? The short answer is, they donít. Itís not a ridiculous claim to suggest his target audience listens almost exclusively to music digitally, and Bechtolt Ė smart, creative, graphically gifted Ė is a perfect example of the 21st-century producer who shouldnít be beholden to the way things used to work. (You could argue the purist DJs might like to spin the vinyl versions of these songs, but then youíre dealing with an even smaller niche.)

No, it feels like the only reason See Mystery Lights exists as a singular artistic statement is that Bechtolt believes artists must release albums to rise above the din of blogs and catch the attention of non-niche press outlets. And he probably has a point, if weíre playing by the current set of rules. But as an album, in the traditional (arguably passť) sense, itís nothing. As dance songs someone uses at a deck party or some indie club, theyíre great. But now that weíre at a point in time where everyone really has the freedom to reconceptualize these things, the package should start matching the purpose.

By Andrew Beckerman

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