An enthralling suite of music composed and performed by Yann Novak. These two recordings contain some truly exquisite sound organization by Novak who is regarded equally for his concepts and his music. Performances of Masculinity features a fascinating, fundamental blend of harmonic and discordant forces. Two beautiful renderings and some of the most absorbing recordings in Novak’s catalogue. Reserved but quietly optimistic. Gorgeous and essential.
For this pair of tracks Novak drew inspiration from his upbringing in the midwestern US—minutes from rural farmland—as a queer youth. Performances of Masculinity ruminates on toxic masculinity, its influence on human development, and its broader presence in experimental music communities.
Crushing Vulnerability opens with a delicate drone that is slowly decimated by distortion and noise, mirroring a relationship to masculinity in which vulnerability is treated as a weakness in need of eradication. Stifling Sensitivity follows with a dense, emotional drone that is slowly eroded until barely anything is left, reflecting masculinity’s doctrine of never revealing emotions. Sonically, both works reference noise and other aggressive forms of experimental music (or as close as Novak is able to get) with the intention of bringing awareness toward those spaces which still foster and sometimes celebrate toxic masculinity.
The cover features a photo by longtime friend and collaborator Steven Miller.
Mastered by Lawrence English at Negative Space. Photograph by Steven Miller.