Landscape and memory have always played a central part in the music of Joe Corrales Jr. aka Yppah (pronounced “yippah”). It’s what gives his tunes both their sense of place, their physicality, and their ethereal – almost nostalgic – sweetness. His third album for Ninja Tune reflects a change in the landscape around him. Midway through the process of recording the demos for what became “Eighty One,” Corrales started making regular trips to Galveston, on the Texas Gulf coast, to surf. So energised was he by his experiences, he left his home in Texas and moved to Long Beach, California. Unsurprisingly then, he says that the images he had in his head as he made his new music were of the sea and the beach. “I wanted a lot of the songs to feel like a warm wash,” he explains.
On tracks like “Blue Schwinn” you can feel the pull and push of the ocean, the sun refracting through water. Corales bifurcated belief in the power of both hip hop and My Bloody Valentine is still evident, but this is the warmest, most uplifting music he has made. This is reinforced by Corrales’ other source of inspiration. The record takes its title from the year Corrales was born and, perhaps the very act of moving away from childhood locales stirred up “memories from random times in my life. Like I was trying to recreate certain feelings I had at different points in my life with melodies, if that makes any sense.” And he goes on to ask, “You know how when you’re a child you feel your life has a certain melodic theme that you can’t really put your finger on and you can almost hear it, but its not anything you’ve ever heard before?” “Eighty One” is his attempt to capture those melodies.
The last piece in this act of reinvention is the presence on four tracks of Anomie Belle, a singer, producer and classically trained violinist based in Seattle. The pair met when Yppah was touring with Bonobo in 2010. The pair hit it off and Corrales contributed a remix to Belle’s album, “The Crush.” In return, she offered to listen through to demos of “Eighty One” to see if she could find a track which she could add something to. In the words of Yppah, “it was such a natural fit she ended up doing four!”
Beautiful, uplifting and imbued with a natural, unaffected warmth that cuts through the most biting cold, “Eighty One” is Yppah’s most satisfying work yet.