To tell the story of the Yawning Sons, you have to head across the pond and first tell the story of the Sons of Alpha Centauri.
The Sons of Alpha Centauri (pictured below) feature Marlon King on guitar, Nick Hannon on bass, Stevie B on drums and Blake on textures. They came up in Swale/Kent UK during the late 1990s and began exploring space and time with instrumental music that was expansive and conceptual. By 2004, the quartet had written 25 compositions.
Several years later, the band began reaching out beyond the boundaries of their own project by producing splits on vinyl—records featuring two bands, one on each side. They began collaborating with instrumental stoner-rock bands from America, including West Virginia’s Karma to Burn—and the desert’s very own Yawning Man.
Now we can finally get to the story of Yawning Sons. It’s a joint project of SOAC and desert-rock guitarist Gary Arce of Yawning Man. In 2008, Arce flew to London to record at what is arguably the most famous recording studio in the world—Abbey Road. There, they laid the seven-track foundation for what would later become the full length record Ceremony to the Sunset, before sendingthe tracks to America, where vocals and additional sounds were added by Abby Travis (The Go-Gos), Mario Lalli, Scott Reeder and Wendy Fowler. By the time the record was complete, it had been in the hands of Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, Mathias Schneeberger at Donner and Blitzen Studio, and Reeder at The Sanctuary
The collaborations didn’t stop there.
“In 2010 SOAC, started a major project to release six vinyls over five years,” Hannon explained. “This was the next project following the two collaboration albums with Karma to Burn and Yawning Man that we took on. The vinyl series was a major commitment and was principally driven by myself as opposed to the rest of the band; I’m grateful to them for letting me pursue it.
“… The vinyls consisted of two splits, a 7-inch with Yawning Sons and WaterWays, a 12-inch with WaterWays and SOAC, and re-release Ceremony to the Sunset. In Late April 2015, we will conclude the trilogy of the 7” with Karma to Burn.”
About WaterWays: It’s a conceptual project deeply rooted in the desert sand. It features dark, thunderous soundscapes and vibey lap steel by Gary Arce; Mario Lalli’s thick, liquid guitar lines laced with nuances of surf, punk and jazz; drummer Tony Tornay’s deep, penetrating rhythms; and Abby Travis’ bittersweet melodies. Travis writes haunting lyrics that draw from her perception of the nü-west, with its drug labs, endless dreamy horizons, suburban legends and endearing characters.
WaterWays is a perfect project for vinyl. Hannon explained why he continues to love the format.
“The decline in physical music is not bad thing, but there should be a physical format that survives, particularly as compressed digital music is not, to me, a sonic evolutionary step forward.”
Learn more at www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk.
Read more from Robin Linn, including an expanded version of this story, at rminjtree.blogspot.com.