James Yull turns away from yellow.

A SOLITARY troubadour plucking or strumming away at his guitar was emblematic of the 1960s folk explosion, but since then the concept of a one-man band has transformed into an artist and a laptop – though the music might sound like a full orchestra blasting away. Those closely following the UK music scene may have heard of London folktronica artist James Yuill. Like an electronic latter day Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, without the leftist political leanings, Yuill is a one-man folk act armed with samplers and a laptop, aside from the requisite acoustic guitar.

Since his debut LP Turning Down Water for Air surfaced in 2008, Yuill has made significant inroads in the UK music press, his wiry frame and trademark glasses adorning dozens of blogs and music papers. In May, Finland will finally get a taste of him in the form of a three-city mini-tour ahead of the release of his new album Movement in Storm.

”Folktronica”, as the label suggests, is folk and electronica melted into one. Suitably scratchy acoustic samples mingle together with compressed and/or garbled electronic sounds, from glitchy breakbeats to ambient hum. Add Yuill’s sensitive busker vocals and turn up the tempo, and the result is suitable for both dancing and armchair-travel, perfect for a generation equally enamoured by Nick Drake’s subtlety, 80s synth pop’s aloofness and Daft Punk’s dynamic beats.

Thu 6 May
Tavastia, Helsinki
Fri 7 May
Klubi, Tampere
Sat 8 May
Klubi, Turku

But now Yuill is breaking out of the solo-act mould. On his upcoming gigs he will be accompanied by a brand new four-piece live band. If more players mean more conventional instrumentation, how will this go down with Yuill’s electro-head fans? Remember what happened to Dylan when he went electric.


Matti Koskinen