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Indie music label and distributor

Yew's Paw


Release Date: 05 February 2007

Format: CD Album

Label: Onomatopoeia Records



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Yew's Paw
Sylvie's Proof
Glassy I
At The Harbour Wall
Short And Sweet, Like A Donkey's Gallop
Stone Carnation
Ubi Sum
Within My Skull
The Kissing Song


William D Drake is a composer, songwriter and performer in his own right as well as being a contributing member of the critically acclaimed North Sea Radio Orchestra. The work of a highly original and eccentric figure, Drake's music is flavoured with tastes developed from early childhood. The sense of dark antiquity in 78 rpm records of Debussy, Paderewski and Rachmaninov, silent film and the first Disney shorts infiltrated an imagination already seduced by Edward Lear and Spike Milligan's use of the surreal and the absurd. His is a many-layered and enticing vision where sweetness jostles with the macabre, absurdity with gravity.

Yew's Paw, a cycle of 13 solo piano pieces, is a powerful expression of these colliding themes. Stylistically, its roots can be traced equally to Drake's classical training and his influential membership of Cardiacs. With Cardiacs he developed a style of ever-shifting key and time signatures, a twisted technique given a new emotional potency in these pieces. The moods of Yew's Paw shift from bar to bar as if tracing the cuts from scene to scene in a silent movie. It is by turns mesmeric, playful, strident, sombre and uplifting, often within a single piece, with diversions into percussive high dissonance reminiscent of Prokofiev, Hindemith and contemporary jazz.

From the lulling cycles of the title track to the fade out of Ralspark, Drake withholds resolution. With no sense of easy containment, each emotional line is left live and shifting, driving the listener's imagination. But these exotic concoctions are as rewarding as they are demanding. Contemporary composition free of any sense of generic boundary, Yew's Paw's peculiar bounty will delight confirmed fans and woo those yet to be.