• Yin Yin "The Age of Aquarius" LP
ETA : Early Dec 2023
YĪN YĪN’s new long player, The Age of Aquarius, is a simple, direct appeal to dance. It is also a record blessed with a considerable hinterland; with cosmic time, long studio hours and a determination to transcend the daily ennui of living in the Dutch city of Maastricht all playing their part.
YĪN YĪN see themselves as a bunch of musical dreamers. The track ‘Declined by Universe’ references the fact that “we’re all kinds of drop outs.” The beautiful, old and somewhat staid city of Maastricht, where the band is based, isn’t really conducive to setting up a bustling music scene: and it’s a place where the outsiders quickly recognize each other. YĪN YĪN are all “nightlife people”, which meant their friendship initially came about through co-organizing and deejaying DIY parties. Before the band formed, none had carved out a conventional career, or done the “very Dutch thing” of completing their studies. Things started to move for real when Yves Lennertz and Kees Berkers decided to make a cassette tape that drew on references to Southern and South East Asian music. Once the idea was formed, Lennertz and Berkers wasted no time in taking “a lot” of instruments to a rented rehearsal room in a small village near Maastricht. There the pair set up a couple of mics and recorded a number of songs in three days flat.
Yves: “When we put it [the recorded session] out on tape, the reactions were very positive. So we decided to do a live show in Maastricht. We asked our musical friends to help us out, and from that night on we became a full band: with Remy Scheren on bass, Robbert Verwijlen on keys and Jerome Cardynaals and Gino Bombrini on percussion.”
The expansive richness in sound and feel may also be down to the fact that more samples, drum computers and synthesizers are used on The Age of Aquarius than in their previous records, a process that intertwines with real-time playing in the studio. ‘Faiyadansu’, for example, started with a sample found on an old traditional Japanese koto record. Kees: “I first programmed a beat with 808 drums. Yves recorded guitars over that. Then we found some great vocal samples from a lady on YouTube who teaches the Thai language. These phrases and words all have something to do with enjoying food. The last step was to record some extra percussion on top.”
Cosmic appropriations of time also crop up in the titles, which may give the lie to some of the band members’ preoccupations with the state of the world. The Age of Aquarius is seen as a time when humanity takes control of the Earth and its own destiny as its rightful heritage, with the destiny of humanity being the revelation of truth and the expansion of consciousness. An old trope musically the Age is most famously referenced in the hippie musical, Hair. For YĪN YĪN it seems to denote the time when this record first took shape during the previous January, when the Age was meant to finally dawn. Other direct references to cosmic times are in the track names ‘Kali Yuga’ and ‘Satya Yuga’: the Kali Yuga, in Hinduism, is the fourth and worst of the four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by Dvapara Yuga and followed by the next cycle's Krita (Satya) Yuga. It is believed to be the present age, which is full of conflict and sin. Who said this was just a party record?