Yelka’s “For” available now on vinyl

Ten albums in three years. That’s still the cosmic mission of the Berlin post-kraut trio YELKA with Daniel Meteo, Christian Obermaier, and the namesake Yelka Wehmeier.

With the album “For,” there was a Label change. After releasing three albums in 2023 with Maurice Summen, head of Fun In The Church they passed the label responsibilities to Karaoke Kalk. Karaoke Kalk is a friendly label founded in Cologne known for establishing the Berlin post-wende scene (fall of the wall scene).

The trio’s fourth album was also created with Arne Berger at Popschutz Studio, and the team is definitely well-rehearsed. Instead of recording the planned tracks, the band decided to improvise the session, and all tracks, except for the krauty Doors cover “The Crystal Ship,” were created in 5 days in the studio, mostly on the first or second take, but with significantly more overdubs – keyboards, backing vocals, second and third guitars, percussion, and piano. The sound of “For” has become warmer, and the album begins with a kind of 60s-Kinks feeling. Overall, the current record has become much more exuberant – like Alice in Wonderland, YELKA seems to want to restore innocence to things in the opener “Smile (Into Skies),” resulting in an uplifting hiking song for experimental outdoor bohemians.

The follow-up piece “The Boar” speaks to everyone from the north, south, west, and east and here YELKA encounters a horde of wild boars on their travels, before the vocals become hardly understandable and ghostly spooled in reverse, suddenly sounding like Damo Suzuki from CAN at the height of Tago-Mago times.

YELKA‘s version of the Doors`”Crystal Ship,” simply sails away with the wild boars into remote 4D worlds between the Cocteau Twins and X-Mal Deutschland.

In the first instrumental of the album “Is this enough?”, the band reverse tracks like Jimi Hendrix in his Electric Ladyland, and we dive deeper and deeper into the endless sky until YELKA finally arrive on newly trodden sound paths with “MM” to their beginnings on their debut album “Nowhere Jive.”

At the popular intersection of post-rock and jazz, where guest singer Bela Hagel also likes to linger for a moment: “Sie wissen” (They know), he knows that too! Surely Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser would have had a lot of fun with his shamanistic singing on his “Kosmische Kuriere” label. The guitars sound like a desert, and the reverb reminds us of the expansive space in the opening track “Skies.”

Finally, we land in America, or rather, YELKA, and ponder the melancholic question of whether anyone still wants to travel to America with them, to the land of unlimited possibilities, the haven for artist souls all over the world. “Do you wanna dance?” Yelka Wehmeier finally asks, while a chorus in the best Sun Ra manner mantra-like repeats “Cold dogs, cool cats.” The whole band sings. Everything sounds good.

Pre-order here

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