Yves Tumor came to 24 Kitchen Street for a rare live performance and Getintothis’ Simon Kirk is there to witness a special night.
Yves Tumor is an artist incessantly shedding skins.
For starters, his name is a source of intrigue. He has been referred to as Sean Lee Bowie, Rahel Ali, Sean Bowie, even Shan Bowie, too. Who really knows for sure?
Then there’s his music, having released it under various guises, Bekelé Berhanu, Shanti and TEAMS. However, for the benefit of logic, we will refer to him simply as Yves Tumor.
Outside of London, this is the only show that Yves Tumor is playing in the United Kingdom, which is a testament to 24 Kitchen Street‘s pulling power, and sees them fast becoming the beacon for left field electronic music in the north west.
The venue works. Two enormous speakers tower over the edge of stage projecting a noise that occupies every corner of the warehouse.
Local grime MC, Tardast, kicks off the night as the audience grow receptive to his offerings.
Alec Tronik follows, providing some nice in-between atmospheric dancehall sounds which leads us into Iceboy Violet. A towering charlatan delivering a raw snapshot of what can only be described as pure performance art, playing his full set in the middle of the room, engaging with the audience, several of whom are quick to embrace him.
We are all well greased courtesy of Violet‘s barrier-breaking set, now becoming restless for the introduction of Yves Tumor.
He’s a soul shrouded in mystery, making him a fascinating prospect in the modern day landscape. In a world where online persona largely dominates how an individual places themselves within the axis of being, Yves Tumor is non-committal.
He doesn’t use race, gender or politics as a way to align himself to something. He’s elusive individual, a sonic chameleon, shape-shifting, immersed in his art.
He enters the stage to a backdrop of hazy red lights akin to the heroin den Clive Owen frequented in The Knick.
In the past Yves Tumor has spoken about making ‘hits’ where people need to listen songs over and over again and with his new album, Safe in the Hands of Love he has unequivocally achieved this with one of the biggest tracks committed to tape this year in Honesty.
The pop element of the number is pushed to the wayside in favour of abrasive beats which discharge and ricochet around the room. It’s an immaculate conception, produced perfectly, spewed from the vortex.
Lifetime follows and it’s an ethereal triumph. It drags you into his world and it feels like a good one at that.
Interludes of noise which sound like sonic shards from his previous album, Serpent Music, provide the foil which illuminates what Yves Tumor captures and projects from his world to the audience. One minute it feels like the sinew of Actress‘ R.I.P. The next, like we are totally immersed into something evoking of A.R. Kane‘s I.
Tumor closes with Safe in the Hands of Love hit single, Noid, and the influence of Prince leaks from the stage, as Tumor confidently stamps his mark with an aggressive brand of soul-punk.
He thanks the crowd and exits the stage accordingly, not keen for adoration or fanfare. There’s no surprise here, further demonstrating his enigmatic personality. Rest assured, we are assuaged by what we’ve just witnessed.
Sure, his performances would have kindly welcomed several more tracks from Safe in the Hands of Love, but tonight, Yves Tumor does enough for us to realise his essence as an artist. It’s disgusting. It’s beautiful. It’s harsh. It’s atmospheric. It’s precarious. It’s spiritual. It’s soulful. In many ways, Yves Tumor provides the soundtrack to our lives.
Images by Getintothis’ John Middleton