yek koo – Desolation Peak

Metal Rouge member Helga Fassonaki has returned under her solo moniker, yek koo, with another unpredictably styled concept of a recording. With this record, her first since 2012’s Love Song for the Dead C, Fassonaki assembles a dirge of bleak vocal meltdowns rising and collapsing around minimal guitar fuzz.

The title of the record illuminates a bit of the thematic quality to its primal religious atmospheres: Desolation Peak is reputably the spot Jack Kerouac allegedly spent 63 days as a fire lookout. It was here Kerouac reported to have sat and listened to “laconic crackling voices” emanating from the radio as the sole human sound on that isolated peak. Fassonaki delivers her voice through a similarly tight threshold of grit, with echoes casting off into the giant surrounding negative spaces. In other words, when you hear yek koo’s Desolation Peak, you hear someone grappling at the final traces of their humanity, shouting ¬†vainly at the outward emptiness.

Within its minimal nature, the record actually has a buried urgency to it, an impatient meditation. There’s anxiety beneath the skin of this prayer, and it makes this fleeting humanity all the more identifiable. This is easily one of the better conceptual recordings we’ve experienced in some time.

-Jared Micah


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