YUS – ‘Hyperspiritual’

Los Angeles-based artist YUS presents an atmospheric immersion throughout Hyperspiritual, which blends electronic soundscapes with harmonious vocal displays. His fourth full-length embraces a heady array of climactic structural builds and hypnotic mixes — seamlessly meshing pulsing percussion, auto-tuned vocals, and late-night synthesizers.

Serving as a counterpart to YUS’s second album, Talisman, Hyperspiritual thematically emphasizes the relationship between music and spirit. The specific inspiration was a Facebook post from Darragh Nolan (Sacred Animals), which explored a belief that music arises from spirit and returns us to spirit — our original and true form. The album’s cover art aligns with this philosophy as well, being “a thought form that represents sympathy and love for all.”

The project of Belgium-born American artist Youceff Yunque Kabal, YUS makes a consistently strong impression throughout Hyperspiritual. Opening track “Kettle Beat” compels with its climactic rise, weaving in spacey synth envelopment within a sturdy rhythmic assortment of claps and warming bass. Kabal’s vocals emerge with a serene soaring, invoking aspects of soulful pop and chillwave within the nocturnal synth pads. Arp-y synth tones add to the intrigue, firmly establishing the project’s atmospheric chops from the get-go.

“Home” follows with a great sense of urgency. Bouncy percussion and sporadic sirens complement a meditative vocal sampling, emitting an excitable colorfulness into Kabal’s more relaxed vocal lead. “It doesn’t feel quite like what I thought it might,” the introspective vocals let out, building with satiating impact into a decisiveness: “I don’t wanna move forward If it means I have to let you go.” Buzzing synth components emerge infectiously within. Emotive vocal sequences pair with starry-eyed synth elements on various tracks, succeeding especially on “Home.”

Alongside yearning electro-pop pursuits, Hyperspiritual succeeds in eclectic aesthetical charms, as well. “Give Me That” enamors in its island-set engrossment — with shades of Bossa-nova and cumbia combining in the suave vocal stylings and brass-y adornments. “WAYWYN?” moves back into the mellow pop introspection, while “Better Frens” induces ample replays with its title-touting repetition amidst illuminated synth tones.

A captivating finale, “Smoke Rings” melds frolicking acoustic shimmering with electro-minded rhythmic thumps. The structure moves from a thoroughly hypnotic guitar clanging into a more ardent vocal shift in the closing minute, effectively concluding an album that excels in its atmospheric enthrallment and melodic smarts alike. YUS thoroughly succeeds on the invitingly memorable Hyperspiritual.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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