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Yobrepus unveils part one of ‹A Rhizome Revolution› – a genre-bending ‹rock opera› in two instalments

Yobrepus band members

In philosophy, the concept of a rhizome is used to describe something non linear, with no apparent origin or hierarchy. As such, the Norwegian art-rockers explore a range of crises that together form a revolution: the climate crisis, inequality, the existential threat of AI, resource scarcity, and the crisis within our political systems.

«I started writing the album back in early 2017, fresh from finishing Mycelium Days. Personally, I saw very dark clouds on the horizon: the far right was on the rise with their climate change denial and xenophobia, and I felt very bad things could happen. I’d also worked with themes surrounding transhumanism in my visual art before, and wanted to bring those ideas into my music as well. Little did I know we were on the brink of an AI revolution,» says Mats Jørgen Sivertsen – the band’s songwriter.

Through the two albums, listeners are presented with fragments of personal stories, in no apparent order, each offering distinct perspectives on the revolutionary events. In this first part, a group of rebels prepare for violence while the rich and powerful get ready to up-load their consciousness to the cloud. Later, murderous AI drones roam the streets and a high ranking official gets tried for a genocide. And still someone finds room to sing a song about love?


While the moods are less melancholy than they were on Mycelium Days, the stylistic range is still as wide as ever. Genre-wise the albums traverse everything from aggressive alt-rock, to wistful folk, 60s-inspired prog and dark, 90s-tinged electronica.

Because of the pandemic, the band had a lot of time to rehearse the new material.

«We we really worked together as a band this time, figuring out how to play the songs. Many of them were done more or less live in the studio too – and you can really hear it on the album – there is something organic and visceral there, that I think was missing before. That – and the live strings – really makes the record shine,» Sivertsen says.

Yobrepus is: Mats Jørgen Sivertsen on vocals, guitars and keys, Vegard Weyergang Vartdal on vocals, synths and bass, Øyvind Rognerud on guitars, synths and keys, and Paal Urdal on drums. In addition, there are guest appearances by jazz pianist Kjetil Jerve and former Minor Majority guitarist Jon Arild Stieng.

Part two will be out later this year. In October.

Three quotes about Yobrepus: «I for one will be keeping a close eye on this band for hopefully years to come» – Sea of Tranquility «Yobrepus is quickly becoming a must hear band» – Take Effect «An extremely interesting new phenomenon on the art/alt-rock map» – MLW

Musicians:

Mats Jørgen Sivertsen – vocals, keys, guitars and loops
Vegard Weyergang Vartdal – bass and synth
Øyvind Rognerud – synth
Paal Urdal – drums

Additional musicians:
First violins by Madeleine Ossum
Second violins by Lotte Hellstrøm Hestad
Violas by Heidi Johnstad Arnesen
Cellos by Ingeborg Skomedal Torvanger
Piano by Kjetil Jerve

The visual art for the project comes from collages made by Ted Parsons, who is probably best known as the drummer of bands such as Swans and Prong.

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