Secret Meeting score: 87
by Martin Ramsbottom
Sean Bowie, better known as Yves Tumor, is a true auteur of outsiderism and post-urbanism. Similar to the other iconic figure in the field – William Emmanuel Bevan – a.k.a. Burial, little is known about Bowie other than, like his namesake, he sought music as an escape from a conservative and monochrome background, in this case, Knoxville, Tennessee.
His development from 2016’s debut Serpent Music is staggering. Safe In The Hands of Love is a testament of transience, confinement and freedom, that somehow melds underground with mainstream. These varying elements are laid bare on the tracks Economy of Freedom and Noid. The former emerges from a familiar, disorientating, Burialesque soundscape into a uniquely unsettling and claustrophobic experience that feels made to be layered over an Adam Curtis documentary.
From the somnambulant pace of Honesty bursts the almost jarringly anthemic Noid. Big melody and big percussion clash with the inexplicable paranoia of ‘Sister, mother, brother, father/Have you, have you looked outside?/I’m scared for my life’. Here and throughout the record the concept of freedom as an increasingly intangible and transient entity in a complex world is its strongest message. Safe In The Hands of Love feels borderless, yet too deliberate to be shoe-horned as ‘experimental’. It is a record that is almost post-post-modern and thrillingly disorientating, as he posits in Licking an Orchid, ‘Some call it torture/Lately I enjoy it’.