Yellow6 has released The Beautiful Season Has Past, a 3 disc set of haunting and exquisite ambient/electronic music.
The long form: In celebration of his 50th release under the moniker Yellow6, Jon Attwood has made available for release from his archives a staggering 40 tracks (including 10 previously unreleased songs, 24 out of print tracks, and other hard-to-find material). The result is the sprawling 3 disc The Beautiful Season Has Past. Mind-boggling in not only its volume, but in its consistently high quality, The Beautiful Season Has Past is a fine collection of some of the best-executed ambient material in the music world.
To call Yellow6’s music ambient, though, is to due it somewhat of an injustice. Sure, the tracks on The Beautiful Season Has Past are instrumental (for a Yellow6 experience with vocals, one can check out last year’s Disappear Here), sure they are crafted by lingering guitars anchored with patient electronic beats. But, in the end the music found on The Beautiful Season Has Past is probably closer to post-rock (with shoegaze and dark electronic influences) than pure ambient. Attwood crafts actual melodies with his guitars to convey his emotions, rather than relying on singular drones. The tracks, then, are actual songs (vocal-less, mind you) that feature notes, bridges, and structure. But, in the midst of the songwriting, Yellow6’s music is consistently dark, foreboding, menacing, sullen, minor-key, and mid-slow tempo. Distant drum machines and electronics pulse and ebb while strains of guitars alternately play notes and drift off into obscurity throughout the CD. Feedback is harnessed and sampled over shimmer basslines. Anyone who is remotely familiar with Yellow6’s output can testify to the attention to detail that Attwood pours into his recordings, and this attention to detail is in full form over the course of the CD. Accompanying such an extended playlist of songs on The Beautiful Season Has Past are liner notes that explain the origins of each of the songs, as well as a heartfelt biography/tribute to Attwood, all packaged in a classy gatefold sleeve. But, perks aside, the real appeal of The Beautiful Season Has Past is the music. At 40 tracks, it would be impossible to do each individual song justice with a half-hearted effort at explaining each one, so for now, a general assessment will have to suffice: The Beautiful Season Has Past is ethereal, yet grounded; dark, yet conveying a slight glimmer of hope; oppressive, yet light; abstract, yet familiar; and ultimately, mystifyingly beautiful…
It seems fitting, for a change, that a lesser-known yet incredibly talented artist like Yellow6 should receive the honour of having such a fine 2 disc set released in his honour. Too often “Best Of” collections or box set releases are devoted to artists with a far less impressive back catalogs, which makes The Beautiful Season Has Past all the more special. Finally a special release devoted to a true artist who has not forsaken artistic integrity for the lure of a semblance of fame or fortune. At 3 hours and 40 minutes of droning guitars over electronic beats, The Beautiful Season Has Past is impressive as it is long, and will undoubtedly keep listeners engaged for a multitude of seasons.