Yama Yama gives ‘college bands’ a good rep. This group of four musicians assumed their connection over a shared appreciation of strangely compatible elements. Drummer Merlin Showalter, entering the group with nearly a too broad breadth of music articulate, bass Milo Fultz “exploring every idiom in the music world he can find”, Pianist and keyboardist Dario LaPoma perorming with salsa and funk bands alike, and saxophonist and composer Scott Mitchell ranging from free jazz to funk.
The genre of their music is in no way generic, and it fuses jazz and funk with the realm of electronics and video games. They claim to take influence from a broad spectrum of performers including Mark Guiliana, Parliamente Funkadelic, Dave Holland Group, and many others. These influences become apparent though the complex texture of their sound, a relaxed jazz at times is spattered with electronic grooves on keys or guitar.Personally, I couldn’t help but pick up on a heavy 90s daytime television vibe, though the rhythms seem fundamentally much more impressive than what would generally accompany a talk-show.
Above all other elements, their time signatures cause the most consideration while casually listening. . “Party Dog EP” acts as Yama Yama’s first debut, released in the Fall of 2012. The album opens Both the opening and ending tracks convey an intended old-timey mood, cast by what sounds to be a minimal phonograph. Maintaining a strong, fast moving beat that sustains throughout the song, the 2nd and 3rd songs include minimal melodies to allow for wild solo features. The 4th song has a more subdued start and fades to background noise of children playing on a playground, then gradually integrating the soft melody of a guitar floating in the background and finally transitioning into full bodied yet gentle song. The 5th song feels like the equivalent to a chill police chase, genuinely incorporating the sounds of sirens, and the 6th keeps this fast pace conveyed in a more optimistic, upbeat tone.
Considering this is their first album, it’s mighty impressive how collected and established their sound is. Coming from a moderate jazz enthusiast, this album is much more accessible than more free-jazz. Definitely worthy of a good listen.
– Clara Dunklee