If there’s anything 2020 has not lacked, it’s music. When recording gear has become so widely available, the ability to lay down ideas has never been so immediate. As difficult as this year has been, music creation has not suffered (while other aspects of music has been hurt badly). The challenge for most artists is to overcome disappointment, such as canceled tours, pivot with the societal changes… and see it as an opportunity to wrote and create.
One band that has encapsulated this creative opportunity is Yumi Zouma. Just as Yumi Zouma released their third album, Truth or Consequences, an album they spent two years perfecting, the first COVID-19 wave crashed around the world. The night before the album was released, the band opened their album-supporting tour before a sold-out crowd. According to their Bandcamp page, as they walked off the stage the band was informed that WHO had declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The anticipated tour was canceled and everything was halted.
The atmosphere was excitable, a little tense, optimistic. However, the chain of events that followed meant that by the time we finished our set that evening, restrictions on venues had been enacted by local governments across the country, and one-after-another, all of our remaining tour dates were cancelled. The performance at DC9 was the first and last show of the ‘Truth or Consequences’ album tour. It was all over, we went our separate ways and flew home the next day – on our album’s release day.YUMI ZOUMA (BANDCAMP)
Refusing to slink back over their great misfortune, Yumi Zouma decided to record and mix a Truth or Consequences (Alternate Album). Admitting that it took a few weeks to accept their reality, they reimagined their songs and got to work. They filmed clever lyric videos for each track, and over the course of ten weeks, the album was released one song at a time. The result is refreshing, and speaks to the resilience of this band.
Writing new music around them, we took the songs of ‘Truth or Consequences’ and found ourselves a new way of re-contextualising them safely, amidst the tragedy and fear going on in the world outside our windows – and the Alternate Versions were born. We encouraged each other to be bold, fearless, and to experiment like we would on stage – but from the comfort of our own bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. This new reimagining of ‘Truth or Consequences’ is the result of that process. Ten new arrangements that reflect our feelings of optimism, helplessness, and a desire to keep exploring.Yumi Zouma (BandCamp)
This week, the band completed the release of Truth or Consequences (Alternate Album), even releasing the album on vinyl (through Polyvinyl Records). It’s a wonderful complement to their Truth or Consequences album, one that is a 2020 favorite of mine. The alternate takes are different enough to be complete and stand on their own; unlike most alternate projects, this one truly feels like an album.
Yumi Zouma links: