"Yūgen" is dense. Koreless' latest EP is so fully packed with rich sounds that the airwaves sometimes feel almost tangible. They aren't, of course, but that brief moment where you suppress even that rational thought is exactly where "Yūgen" comes to life.
Lewis Robert's new-found musical direction is a quite radical departure his previous material, which all fell neatly in the increasingly wide slipstream created by house heads with bass music roots. For starters, one of the key suspects is missing: the beat. On "Yūgen," Roberts builds and builds, but he does so through tension and instead of pure pounding force. Of course, this only makes the EP's density all the more impressive and its title's reference to modern Japanese aesthetics all the more appropriate.
Still, there is something strange about the five tracks. All of them wear their simple yet maxed out aesthetics well, but as a listener, you wonder how to interpret Koreless' work. There is a physical component to the music, but it is the kind that keeps pushing you back in your seat rather than drawing you closer to the speaker (arguably, getting any closer to your headphones is challenging). The dissonance between the apparent subtlety and effective richness of the music is hard to adjust to, if only because nothing else quite sounds like Roberts does on this one.
It might very well be that Koreless is onto something that the rest of us have not quite picked up on yet. If there is gold to be found at the intersection of Luke Abbott, Pantha du Prince, and Tim Hecker, Lewis Roberts will surely discover it first. The rest of us will probably follow, but it will most likely be with the kind of hesitance that "Yūgen" ultimately leaves you with. Roberts might be trying so hard to push boundaries that you are left to watch and never truly feel why he switched gears in the first place.
'Yugen' is out 20th of May on Young Turks.