Originally conceived as part of a university art project, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan (YT//ST, for brevity’s sake) was officially formed in late 2007 by performance artists (and classmates) Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B. This self-described “Asian, Indigenous and Diasporic Art Collective” has grown to be comprised of eight members, and has become notorious for putting on highly theatrical musical shows throughout Montreal and Toronto, where it is based.
Percussive, emotional, hypnotic, cacophonous, swirling, commanding, precise, colorful.
It is difficult to do justice to the slew of different instruments, voices, and sounds produced by YT//ST, yet a string of words as seemingly disjointed as their music does a fair job as placeholder until you give them a listen. Throwbacks to Asian culture (e.g. J-pop, C-pop, anime/manga,) hand-crafted and home-brewed instruments, non-English lyrics, and chanting are all elements you’ll find regularly in YT//ST‘s music, and that’s disregarding their gorgeous videos and live spectacles. Said live shows are known to feature stunning monochromatic (and uniquely “2.5 dimensional”) set-pieces reminiscent of Japanese comics and cartoons, copious amounts of face-paint, and lavish costumes. Insofar as YT//ST has referred to its performances as “Noh-wave” operas — a pun juxtaposing Noh, a form of classical Japanese theatre, and the underground/avant-garde “no wave” music scene.
To follow their debut album, YT//ST, the collective has announced upcoming album UZU, and released the single “One” on SoundCloud. “One” gives a taste of all the electronic deliciousness you would expect to receive from YT//ST, and promises a newly-evolved, but familiarly chaotic sound. UZU is set to release on October 29th through Paper Bag Records in Canada, and Suicide Squeeze in the States.