Memotone - How Was Your Life? LP (Impatience, 2023)
"Bristol multi-instrumentalist, producer and nature freak Will Yates offers a new record from his Memotone alias, an expansive, hypothetical revue titled How Was Your Life?
Launching from terrains recognizable to fans of Will’s extensive, restless discography, How Was Your Life? packs up his penchant for baroque druid folk, homespun electronics and weightless woodwinds and explodes them into glistening, fractal star dust.
Instigated by the purchase of an antiquated Y2K era guitar synthesizer, the record was produced over the first half of 2022, in a large part the result of in-studio improvisation. Where Will’s previous releases under various guises have often been conceived by conceptual frameworks, HWYL? was carved by equipment that offered both possibilities and parameters that Will relished and explored to the nth degree. The Roland GR33 not only provided sublime guitar sounds but also empowered the guitar to convincingly mimic fretless bass, tabla and a vast percussive array, also summoning an artillery of uniquely outre atmospheres over the course of the record. The resulting concoction sounds familiar yet subtly, unshakeably otherworldly, shaping up as perhaps the most honed, energized and beatific Memotone album to date.
Paradise Drips gently lifts off with wobbly guitar, randomized sequences and unidentifiable percussive elements situating us somewhere in an unearthly realm, before Open World zaps the serotonin receptors and gushes with ecstatic warmth, it’s quietly insistent soft disco shuffle and levitational fretless driving towards a totally blissed and very soft “drop”. Forest Zone sees Memotone deep in the green, with a loose, propulsive groove and dancing flutes stumbling into a medieval ritual in the clearing halfway through, and Glow In The Dark deftly bounces between spacey ambience and an undulating no wave vamp. Carved By The Moon is a delightfully melted classical cut, while Canteen Sandwich offers the record’s most explicitly nod to modernity in the form of a nimble drum workout with samurai synths and melodic percussion that heaves towards a genuine peak. Lonehead immediately backs right off, viscerally melancholic clarinet and bubbling fx making for the records most hefty introspective moment, before Walking Backwards simmers all the way down on an wistful arpeggio, rooting back in earthly reality with charmed rhythms and jazzy tunings. Catharsis complete, Memotone is onto the next incarnation.
Will Yates has been making music as Memotone since 2010, releasing music on labels like Black Acre, Disktopia and Accidental Meetings, also releasing music as O.G. Jigg and Half Nelson. He’s worked as a producer, session musician and live performer on a broad spectrum of projects, and recently provided source sounds that made up Batu’s “Opal” on Timedance." - Impatience