Tropic of Night

O Yuki Conjugate are one of these prolific bands whose extensive output has mostly passed me by, though I see they did contribute one track to the Release Your Mind comp (on Relapse Records from 1997) which I own. An English combo from Nottingham (Roger Horberry and Andrew Hulme are the two mainstays, though three additional names are credited on this album), they’ve been variously described as dark ambient and post-industrial by those who grope for labels and characterisation.

Today’s record Tropic (AUF ABWEGEN aatp58) was released in Cologne and contains a number of tracks from the mid-1990s – in many ways a “golden period” for this type of music, especially if you dig the mysterious blank-outs of Lull, Tactile, and Scorn. Arranged under two headings ‘The Fate of Less Valuable Animals’ and ‘Darkness Was Here Yesterday’ are many fascinating lush swampy-mode drone-fests, with plenty of “swirling” effects and judiciously restrained echo guitar, plus the mandatory voice samples uttering cryptic sayings out of context to add that extra touch of spookery. In some ways they remind me of a more approachable Zoviet France, or a less wispy version of Mirror. O Yuki Conjugate have more meat on their bones, even as they try to disappear behind trees. This is “ambient” music from a better time when people weren’t afraid to use melody and imagination, and pre-sets on digital workstations were considered “bad form” among the major proponents.

While lovers of the genre will sink their talons into this succulent dish of “misplaced, forgotten and unreleased” musics, fans of mainstream Kosmische music (especially Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream) will also find much to satisfy their musical appetites. Pressed in clear vinyl with a suitably ambiguous cover painting. From 22 June 2018.

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