November 27, 2023
Dutch psych delights ahead of YĪN YĪN’s third album, Mount Matsu.
One band paving the way with their take on global psych-funk are YĪN YĪN. Their upcoming LP, Mount Matsu, takes a different path than their previous offerings. Their debut The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers and follow-up The Age of Aquarius were made solely by founding members, drummer Kees Berkers and multi-instrumentalist Yves Lennertz, with Lennertz recently leaving the band. Now with a refreshed line-up, Berkers along with bassist Remy Scheren, keys player Robbert Verwijlen and guitarist Erik Bandt chose to make the album collaboratively and democratically.
“It was a challenge, of course,” Berkers laughs. “Making music and putting your creativity out there with three other people is a lot more difficult than doing it yourself. You have to get used to letting go of some of your ideas and putting a quarter of yourself into it instead of the full 100%. If everyone puts their full self, in there’s going to be trouble and then no one’s satisfied.”
To help the recording process, they built their own studio in the attic of Berkers’ home in the Belgian countryside. “There was no producer or recording engineer. It was pretty intense sometimes, but we learnt a lot from it,” he explains, adding other than their live sound engineer, Simon Van Boxtel, working with him on mixing, it was a band-only affair. Even with each mix resulting in “endless email chains full of everyone’s commentary”, his excitement to get started on their next full-length is palpable.
As well as adapting their recording process, YĪN YĪN have branched out from their tried and tested South Asian influences to treat listeners to even more global psych richness. As sonically stunning as ever, Mount Matsu dances around Japanese City Pop-inspired retro glitz (“Tokyo Disko”), Afrobeat-meets-psych-funk breakdowns (“White Storm”), and nu-disco grooves. It’s not all an outright party with moments of serenity dotted throughout. “Shiatsu For Dinner” teases reverb-soaked melodies that take a more laidback approach to the 1970s West Coast sex-funk greats, before closing out with the beautiful notes of the guzheng in “Ascending To Matsu’s Height”.
Ahead of Mount Matsu‘s release, YĪN YĪN have compiled a mix of tracks by artists they “have a warm connection” with, from renowned Anatolian psych-rockers Altin Gün to upcoming post-punks Dorpsstraat 3. A sonic journey through new Dutch sounds, the mix also sees Amsterdam-based sextet Nusantara Beat play around with the Sundanese traditional folk of Yanti Bersaudara’s “Djanger”, while Cumbian trio Chica Chica groove the night away and lo-fi synth-punks Badtime add a menacing grin for good measure.
“Based in this little country, we either shared stages, musicians, management or booking agencies, and/or experience,” Berkers explains. “It’s good to realise that to be able to make music and inspire each other is a blessing. Enjoy this crazy ride!”
Listen to the mix in the player above, view the tracklist below, and read on for some more handpicked selections from YĪN YĪN’s Kees Berkers.
Chica Chica – Disco L’Africain
Baby’s Berserk – Accessories
Collignon – Visita Noturna
Nusantara Beat – Djanger
Cocobolo – Appaloosa
Dorpsstraat 3 – Dracula
The Mauskovic Dance Band – Face (Live at Paradise Garage)
Personal Trainer – The Lazer (live at NPO radio 2)
Altin Gün – Su Sızıyor (Remix)
Badtime – Bunker
ROLROLROL – Surprise (With Jamie Woon)
Cavolo Nero – Mauna Kea
Don Melody Club – Zontimenteel
YĪN YĪN – Takahashi Timing
“Su Sızıyor (Remix)”
We started out as fans of Altin Gün, and then we got to support them which meant a lot for us as we could reach a lot bigger audience. We were so honoured to open the night for them eight shows in a row.
Those shows also really motivated us to get more professional and get our stuff together. It was the moment when we realised that we were really becoming a band.
The Mauskovic Dance Band
“Face (Live at Paradise Garage)”
Mauskovic Dance Band have brought out some really cool EPs and albums–we almost always play their tunes when we DJ.
We’ve seen them play a couple of times and played festivals together with them. The Netherlands is a very small country so we get to see bands like them a lot and get to know each other.
We met them in Amsterdam for a concert at Vondelpark and we’d never heard of them. They’re four young lads that have this minimal New Wave-punk style and they’ve just released this single called “Dracula”. They released it on Halloween and at the release show they all got out of coffins.
We really like them as they have this unique blend of rock and punk, but play with synthesisers and drum computers. They have Dutch lyrics that aren’t over the top or corny so we like that! Also the album art of “Dracula” is really cool.
Their percussionist Gino Groeneveld used to play in Altın Gün and he also went on tour with us to England, so we have a great connection with him. He quit Jungle By Night to start this project, and we were all asking, ‘Why would you quit Jungle By Night? It’s such a big successful thing–why would you leave that?’. But he had this idea to make an Indonesian-flavoured fusion band, and we knew that was going to work.
They only have a few singles out, so we’re waiting on the album and are excited about it. The song we’ve included, “Djanger”, is a straight banger–it’s already a classic for us.
Collignon features Gino Bombrini, who we recorded our first album The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers with, and he also played a lot of percussion on it–he’s a longtime friend. Then there’s also Jori Collignon who was in Skip&Die and Yves Lennertz who was in YĪN YĪN at the very beginning but left a year and a half ago–he plays guitar. We’re very happy that he found a new project where he can utilise his talents.
They have a single out on Bongo Joe Records and we absolutely love it. It’s very danceable and energetic–it was so important for us to include them in this mix.
Mount Matsu is available to pre-order now ahead of its January 19 release.