Its peak may have passed ten years ago, but 2015 featured a number of reminders of just how vibrant and exciting the Kansai scene of the early-mid-2000s was, with Pika from Afrirampo’s solo album (No.14 in this rundown) and Fuji Rock performance, Oshiripenpenz also providing a live highlight at Fuji Rock, and Ni-Hao!’s chaotic, energetic No Respect! album. Yolz in the Sky were always a little bit to the fringes of that scene, emerging a little later and being far more minimal and tautly wired, and far less performance-driven and wild than their local contemporaries.
Nevertheless, they were one of the best and have proven one of the most enduring bands of that generation, despite losing half their membership in their transition from postpunk quartet to the minimal avant-disco duo that appears on Hotel.
A postpunk mindset still drives a lot of Hotel, with frequent moments of rhythmical and sonic dissonance interrupting the grinding repetition of the beats, and the hysterical vocal utterances, yelping out mantric, minimal nonsense. The line between guitar and synthesiser in Yolz in the Sky’s music is at this point nonexistent, the music’s organic input lost in a maze of effects and cables.
Yolz in the Sky treat every tool at their disposal like a rhythm instrument, and what makes the album a success is in the constantly, playfully shifting dynamic between those different rhythmical elements, the interplay between them, and the craft and imagination that ensures the journey they guide the listener along is both rewarding and makes the album effective if distinctly oddball dance music.