Yak - Quest For The Stones (2015)
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Neo/Sympho Progressive Rock | Yaksongs #01112015-01 GB YAK
"Quest for the Stones" is the third studio album by British instrumental symph/prog band Yak. The music of Yak is instrumental, melodic and according to the reviews it is mostly being categorised in the genre of symphonic progressive rock. "For the uninitiated, the music of YAK harkens back to the golden age of 70s' symphonic rock from pioneers like Camel and early Genesis; as well as the solo albums of Steve Hackett (which is amazing considering there is no guitarist). Martin emulates the emotional sustained guitar tones of artists like Steve Hackett and Andy Latimer beautifully. I needed to refer back to the CD sleeve to see if the line "Martin Morgan plays Fernandes guitars" was listed somewhere in the notes"
"At this moment in time there is an abundance of great prog bands and music around. However, only very few capture the essence of the genre enough to allow listener to become immersed in the mood or atmosphere of the music's intention. Journey of the Yak is one of the few. For the lovers of Steve Hackett from Acolyte to Spectral Mornings will find this album a dream to listen to. No mean feat when you consider the scarcity of guitar on this album. Martin Morgan's wicked pitch bending and clever keyboard voicing has all but the most critical nerd fooled into thinking that he has a Strat in there somewhere. When i first listened to this album i kept waiting for the singing to start and after i listened to these crafted pieces for the second and third time i was glad that it didn't. So many band are making albums now that brim with fantastic musical events yet marred by poor vocals, especially non- English speaking bands. Yak's music stands up on it's own and does not need the accompanyment of vocal and lyric. It's nice too to hear real drums as so many musicians now place reliance on the virtual/software technology to represent their rhythm. Dave Speight on drums along with Gary Bennett playing bass make a huge difference to the album taking the soundstage away from being of the modern manufactured sound. It can be heard that a great deal of attention to detail has been made especially to the careful selection of Mellotron sounds portrayed via Martin Morgan's Kurzweil." - Steve Petch Progmeister.com
Yak were a 4 piece instrumental progressive rock band who played between '82 & '84. The line up consisted of Robin Hodder (guitar), SySnell (bass), John Wynn (drums) & Martin Morgan (keyboards). The band stopped playing when jobs took the members to disperate parts of the UK. The material had only ever been recorded in Lo-Fi but Martin was determined that it should not be 'lost'. In 2003 he set about re-recording 8 of the YAK tracks which were released as the "Dark Side of the Duck" album in Feb '04. Following this and enthused with the response, the band re-formed - original line up, but now with Max Johnson on bass. A live EP, "Does Your Yak Bite ?" was released in 2005, and the same line-up released the jam collection "The Rutland Chronicles" the following year.
Yak had not yet managed to capture a sound real close to their heart in the studio though, but in 2008, 2 years after it's first planned release, "Journey of the Yak" was issued. On this creation the influences of the symphonic masters of yesteryear; Genesis, Camel and UK; really came to it's right - mixed with dreamier and ambient segments not too unsimilar to the works of an artist like Bjorn Lynne.
It's worth noting that the recording line-up changed while the recording of this album took place. Morgan started recording this production by himself; and published some of the new recordings on Yak's MySpace page. These recordings caught the attention of drummer Dave Speight (WHIMWISE), who wanted to participate on this project. He brought longtime accomplice Gary Bennett (bass) with him; and the input of those two fine musicians undoubtedly have had an impact on the evolvement of the style of music pursued by Yak on this production.
Why is this band listed at ProgArchives:
Influenced by acts like Genesis and Camel, and incorporating stylistic elements from artists like UK and Bjorn Lynne, the evolved form of symphonic rock mixed with dreamy and ambient segments presented on their 2008 album "Journey of the Yak" saw to it that Yak was approved for inclusion by the Neo Progressive team.