Dusted Reviews

Yacht - See Mystery Lights

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Yacht

Album: See Mystery Lights

Label: DFA

Review date: Aug. 4, 2009

It’s really difficult to find fault with the music on Jona Bechtolt’s latest album as Yacht, See Mystery Lights. Not because it’s particularly creative or groundbreaking or catchy, but rather because it was made for such a specific context that judging it out of that context makes little sense. Lights certainly has its charms – cribbed Afropop, bits like A Rainbow in Curved Air, and a general poppy through-line – but those charms wear thin when placed up against an entire album’s worth of monotonous, mobius strip dance beats.

Perhaps Bechtolt and his new music partner Claire Evans didn’t mean for this to be specifically for indie dance parties, but that’s what Lights is, and in that respect, it works quite well. It’s repetitive enough to get people into a rhythm; the beats do what they are supposed to do, and one can picture an entire living room’s worth of kids in fake Indian apparel jumping up and down drunkenly to “It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want.”

The question is, how do these 10 tracks work together as an album, when they could have easily been released as individual mp3s? The short answer is, they don’t. It’s not a ridiculous claim to suggest his target audience listens almost exclusively to music digitally, and Bechtolt – smart, creative, graphically gifted – is a perfect example of the 21st-century producer who shouldn’t be beholden to the way things used to work. (You could argue the purist DJs might like to spin the vinyl versions of these songs, but then you’re dealing with an even smaller niche.)

No, it feels like the only reason See Mystery Lights exists as a singular artistic statement is that Bechtolt believes artists must release albums to rise above the din of blogs and catch the attention of non-niche press outlets. And he probably has a point, if we’re playing by the current set of rules. But as an album, in the traditional (arguably passé) sense, it’s nothing. As dance songs someone uses at a deck party or some indie club, they’re great. But now that we’re at a point in time where everyone really has the freedom to reconceptualize these things, the package should start matching the purpose.

By Andrew Beckerman

Read More

View all articles by Andrew Beckerman

Find out more about DFA

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.