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Yacobs - 2012 - "Clouds"

(45:55, Musea Records)



1.  Dawn 1:19
2.  Cinderella 5:16
3.  Twilight Sun 4:38
4.  Indian Clouds 3:08
5.  Turn Off the Sun 4:12
6.  All You Have Is Now 4:54
7.  My Very First Day 4:22
8.  Hot Summer in Transylvania 4:00
9.  A Heavenly Sound 3:22
10. Lift Off 2:16
11. Clouds 6:45
12. Dusk 1:43


Ulf Jacobs – drums; vocals; keyboards; trumpet
Jens Hilgener – guitars, e-bow
Akos Bogati-bokor – guitars 
Thomas Klarmann – bass 
Anita Ratai – recorder 
Jan Mehlan – vocals 
Kari – vocals 
Syri – vocals 

Prolusion. The German project YACOBS is the creative vehicle for drummer, composer and instrumentalist Ulf Jacobs, Yacobs the moniker he has chosen to use as a solo artist. He released his first solo album back in 2001, since then a further four productions have seen the light of day. "Clouds" is the most recent of these, and was released through Musea Records in 2012.

Analysis. The music explored on Yacobs’ latest album "Clouds" is of the kind that merits a description as accessible. References to 70's progressive rock in general and the symphonic variety of this style in particular are plentiful, but used in compositions that by and large tend to focus on the light and harmonic side of matters rather than the challenging and complex ones. Structurally Jacobs opts for more of a mainstream than an experimental approach as well, and in terms of references I guess the most accessible side of bands such as Camel and Genesis might be a good indication just as much as Jacobs own description that a specific songs was inspired by the great Phil Collins. Wandering, elegant piano motifs are a central feature in most compositions, with and without a smooth symphonic inspired backdrop of the kind that fans of neo progressive rock will find intriguing. The guitar has more of a secondary role on most occasions, occasionally used to add more impact by way of harder edged riffs but most often left to add delicate details alongside soft, atmospheric guitar solo excursions. The arrangements tend to be sparse throughout, alternating between one or more movements of this kind with a few more richly textured constructions for the sake of variety and impact. Various details are employed to enhance the level of variety throughout: a delicate flute solo on initial mood piece Dawn, cosmic inspired synth details on the following Cinderella, Raga inspired string instrument details on All You Have Is Now, while My Very First Day expands the overall scope by including atmospheric details that reference artists such as King Crimson and Tangerine Dream in addition to Genesis. The mournful Mellotron detail on title track Clouds also merits mentioning within this context. The rather distinct emphasis on harmonies and melodies doesn't offer much in the way of contrast however, at least not in the instrument department. But Jacobs has a nice, naturally dark voice that caters for this aspect quite nicely, supplementing his expertise with the drums quite nicely to add and maintain a nerve and tension needed for material of this kind.

Conclusion. Ulf Jabobs run of solo albums released under the Yacobs moniker have been ongoing for more than a decade by now, and with "Clouds" he has made himself a disc that should have a fairly broad overall appeal. Those with an interest in sophisticated mainstream rock should give this one a spin, and as far as a progressive rock oriented audience is concerned I'd suggest that those who generally found the albums released by SI Music in the 90's to be of interest should be regarded as a key audience for this disc.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 6, 2013
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records


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