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Yagull: Yuna

Glenn Astarita By

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The duo's third album is an unquestionable treat for the aural senses. Think of fragile lullabies, drifting melody lines, temperate undercurrents and a few tuneful up-tempo numbers, as these piano-guitar duets are organic and wistful, yet not overly sedate or monolithic akin to commercial New Age mall music.

Pieces like "Dawn" spark imagery of a faraway land via a simple melody, tinted with drifting qualities. Here, pianist Kana Kamitsubo renders elegant block chords, placing emphasis on the primary theme atop Sasha Markovic's gentle strumming, instilling a touch of folk into the jazz element. Moving forward, the duo adds a little more oomph, but conjures a sentimental portraiture throughout. The following track, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" begins with a buoyant motif where the duo exercises restraint and quaintness to coincide with a lovely hook.

On "101" the musicians open it up, including Kamitsubo's eloquent solo and Markovic's steady comping. However, they reverse-engineer the main plot, highlighted by their fluid developments and the pianist's classical music paradigms and hammering chord clusters. The guitarist stretches out during "Mori (Forest Song)" as he integrates blues and folk into Kamitsubo's rolling chord voicings. And Markovic's resonating and spirited guitar work is also evident on "Kiri," and elsewhere.

This album contains therapeutic qualities amid lush phrasings, hummable themes and energized movements etched into a game-plan that intimates a heavy dose of emotive content, spanning similes of love, nature, sorrow and atonement. In addition, some of these largely memorable works seem to be legitimate contenders for cinematic scores, and perhaps rearranged and orchestrated for pop and rock genres.

Track Listing: Searching For The Moon; Dawn; Sabbath Bloody Sabbath; Muse; 101; Fall Winter; Riverwas; Mori (Forest Song); Yuna; Kiri; Searching For The Moon (Reprise).

Personnel: Sasha Markovic: guitar, mandolin; Kana Kamitsubo: piano; Special guest Ayumi Ueda - vocals (9).

Title: Yuna | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: MoonJune Records

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