Friday, June 3, 2011

Yello [3rd Of June]

Yello. Oh Yeah!

Once upon a time in a life filled with John Hughes' films, The Sci-Fi Fanatic was living pretty large and amassing a CD collection so BIG some say, like the Great Wall Of China, it was physically visible from outer space.

One of those films, Ferris Bueller's Day Off [1986], opened my eyes to a band called Yello thanks to a popular track, Oh Yeah, so insanely delicious it was played to death and straight to its grave.

I don't know. Was I channeling my yellow shirt today? Mine eyes were not only opened to the genius of the Switzerland-based electronic band comprised of one Dieter Meier and Boris Blank, but also the potential and possibilities available in popular music to the art form called the instrumental.

I was more open to a vocal-less track. I was more open to film soundtracks and scores as music built to stand on its own and simply enjoy apart from the film.

I always recognized the power of a film score and the iconic nature of certain themes that would resonate through our lives, but Yello made me dig a little deeper beyond the American Top 40 in some ways.

Yello, like the Pet Shop Boys, were a little too sharp for their own good to a degree. These were smart tunesmiths whose crafted songs were at the hands of men who looked incredibly unhip and old by teen standards, but music aficionados seemed to get them for a time. The weird, bug-eyed Meier looked old to me even back when I discovered Yello in the popular Matthew Broderick film. Oddly enough, the Swiss Meier is a bit of a Renaissance man of sorts: a millionaire industrialist, professional poker player, gambler, one time member of the Swiss National Golf Team, performance artist, video director, restaurant/ store owner and musician. Go figure. His partner Boris Blank is merely an artist and musician. Ho-hum [sounds like a Yello song].

Together Yello have crafted some of the most innovative and brilliant electronic tracks I've ever heard. Some songs manipulate their own vocals like Oh Yeah. Meier applies a terrifically seductive vocal track to Of Course I'm Lying. Some of their other selections feature stunning vocal turns by a selection of little known guests including Vicious Games and even Shirley Bassey [007 acclaim] on The Rhythm Divine.

There are too many terrific little nuggets of audio experimentation to count and to point to any one album is equally difficult. If I had to choose a disc worth investigation I would choose Essential because every single track is an exercise in studio genius. Essential gives you some of the act's finest moments from the span of their efforts. Each track is so unique from the next, but the radical turns are a solid pleasure indeed. Drive/ Driven meanders beautifully while Pinball Cha Cha infuses a Latin flavor into an eclectic mix. It's all over the map, but the songs are undeniably addictive. Other personal favorites include Rubberbandman, Goldrush and Call t Love.

But I would be remiss not to mention one song that really prompted me to take a few minutes to revisit the group via this post, 3rd Of June. The dark 3rd Of June is like an apocalyptic, epic slice of sinister madness exclusive to the Flag [1988] recording. You won't find it on a best of and that's unfortunate. I've noted some of the best of Yello in bold yellow below. Ultimately, I do think Yello is an acquired taste [imagine The Art Of Noise meets Sergio Leone] and you would do well to select tracks from their immense, intense oeuvre in an almost a la cart fashion, but do check them out. Perhaps iTunes is in order. Enjoy your 3rd Of June.

"Who's that? What's that? What do you mean? I'll never know when I lost my dream. Who's that? What's that? Gimme your name. 3rd Of June, end of the game." Bizarre stuff, but, oh yes, classic, or should I say, Oh Yeah... chick, chicka, chicka! ;D

Yello discography: Solid Pleasure [1980]/ Claro Que Si [1981]/ You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess [1983]/ Stella [1985]*/ 1980-1985 The New Mix In One Go [1986]/ One Second [1987] */ Flag [1988] */ Baby [1991]/ Essential [1992] */ Zebra [1994]/ Hands On Yello [1995]/ Pocket Universe [1997]/ Eccentric Remixes [1999]/ Motion Picture [1999]/ The Eye [2003]/ Progress And Perfection [2007]/ Touch Yello [2009]/ Yello By Yello [2010]. * essential [many of the recordings have been remastered with bonus tracks]


le0pard13 said...

Oh Yeah by Yello certainly was the signature song for Ferris Bueller's Day Off and it could be argued it was one of a quintessential set for the decade of the 80s. Great spotlight on these guys, SFF! As I've said before, I love these music posts of yours. Thanks very much for this.

SFF said...

Hey my friend.

Well, Leopard 13 I appreciate your vocal support of these music tributes. Thank you.

And, as a result, I have a little song I wrote for you. Are you ready?

"I wrote this post. I wrote this post for you. And everything you do. And it was called Yello." : )

I thought you might like that. ha.

All the best,

le0pard13 said...

No "chick chicka chicka"? ;-)


Anonymous said...

Yello makes the perfect accompaniment to reading Iain M Banks. Something I did a lot of and will continue to do in the future.