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When the Leaves Fall Like Snow

  Make Mine Music  
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Yellow6 is a very prolific artist. I have dozens of his CDs as well as several vinyl releases. And then there was the 3 CD compilation of rarities released back in 2006, an album of new material last year, and every year he also releases a Merry6Mas CD (available at around Christmas time) of rarities, outtakes, alternate mixes, and otherwise unreleased stuff. Then this year he has a brand new 2 CD set out!

When does the man sleep? Or does he? Is Jon Atwood, aka Yellow6, really some sort of ambient guitar playing robot? If so, what is the purpose of such a robot?

I find Yellow6's music to be consistently interesting, and relaxing. I put on the Yellow6 CDs to sit and read, or just relax on the couch with my cats. It is music that is adequate when playing in the background, and yet also supports a deeper listen. When the Leaves Fall Like Snow is, i think, the most ambient thing in the Yellow6 catalog. This is 2 CDs containing 16 songs spanning 128 minutes. That is a lot of listening…

The first CD of the album is subtitled "Fall" and consist of just 6 tracks at about 10 minutes each. These are all painfully, achingly slow. Yellow6 takes his time making long, echoing notes that fade out organically. The overall effect is very peaceful. If i had to pick a favorite from this CD, i would pick Street, the second track. This seems a little more rhythmic and edgy than the rest of the tracks. It builds a slow tension, and then releases it gradually. Nicely done.

For me, the second disc, "Further", is where the action is at. This starts off with a few tunes that are similar to those on "Fall", but then Yellow6 mixes it up. Amateur sounds a lot like the stuff off of Painted Sky -- a slow tinkling of guitar layers. After an hour of ten-minute, achingly slow songs, this seems fast-paced by comparison. You don't realize that all of those slow songs are slowly building, and then here, suddenly it is all released. The song seems joyous to me, perhaps because his playing is lovely, and perhaps because it is a return to normal time frames after the wandering expanse of the first half of the album. A really neat effect. I wonder if it has the same effect if you only listen to CD 2, and don't put them in the CD changer in order? Hmmm…

After that release, Yellow6 is positively speedy. Or, rather, he plays guitar at his usual loping pace instead of the crawl of the first half of When the Leaves Fall Like Snow. These songs could, realistically, fit most anywhere in the Yellow6 catalog, and if you are a fan of his music they will appeal to you. I especially like You Can't Be Everywhere He Said, with its low bass notes and distorted guitar riffing, and Last Saturday, which moves at a slower pace but really reminds me of fellow MMM artist July Skies in it's airy, dreamy tone. Also of interest is Mellan, where Mr. Atwood channels the spirit of Vini Reilly and plays his guitar under a light chorus effect. This is, perhaps, the most purely New Wave song he has done in a while, and i like it.

Overall, i continue to be impressed with Yellow6, be he robot or mortal. As long as music like this keeps coming out, i will be happy. If you are a fan of mellow, ambient guitarwork, then you should pick this up. It is a slow album that rewards patient listening. Trust me on that, and give it time to work its magic. You will not be disappointed.

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Also on EvilSponge:
     Appearance as remixer: Remixes
     EP: Decay:Repeat
     Album: Lake:Desert
     Remix collection: Source: Remix
     Split album: Split
     Compilation appearance: Mass Transfer Installation:05
     Tryptych appearance: New Found Land
     Album: Disappear Here
     Compilation appearance: Flow
     Compilation: The Beautiful Season Has Past
     Album: Painted Sky


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