Reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Baba Yoga is the first album from Israeli-Japanese producer Yamagucci, who has been making a name for himself through associations with the Diynamic, Disco Halal and Maccabi House labels. It is on the latter that his new long player is released, though given the circumstances around which it was made it is something of a miracle that it was completed at all.
Yamagucci began work on the album in Tel Aviv in 2020, but sustained severe injuries in a bike accident that meant he had to move back to his parents, all during the pandemic. Music and yoga were his coping mechanisms (hence the inspired album title!), and soon both were channelled into a creative vision, which Yamagucci calls ‘a recovery process for my body and soul’.
What’s the music like?
Omer Relex, the first track, is a sultry blend of soothing vocals, very deep beats and warm textures, within which fragments of melody operate. The mood is laid back but the beats bring energy too, establishing a springboard from which Manali Kofta benefits, Yamagucci upping the funk quotient. Adam Ten guests on his own label as part of Desert Fantasy, an atmospheric cut,
Pandemic whips up more energy, as though getting rid of a build up of angst with some noticeably quicker and more energetic beats. By contrast, Jim Jim, with Dor Danino, is stripped back, a disco-house beat given minimal scraps of bass and clips of noise but still creating a heat-soaked atmosphere nonetheless.
On occasion a smoky, dusty feel makes its way into the productions. Make Revolution, with its twisted robotic vocal, is a gritty example, blending deep house with more urban persuasions in a way similar to Lil Louis. Loco has a similar profile, with chunkier beats, while Follow The Hihat, with the vocals of Millero, goes lower still, playing with perspective rather effectively.
Does it all work?
Pretty much. The beats may be of the solid four-to-the-floor variety, but Yamagucci is always at work within, creating interesting cross-rhythms and collections of mini hooks.
Is it recommended?
It is – a strong 8-track collection that hangs together really well and creates evocative pictures. The darker the club and the warmer the climate, the more suited they are for Yamagucci’s productions. Recommended especially for deep house heads.
You can hear clips from the album and purchase from the Traxsource website