The first Dome album in 15 years, Yclept wastes no time getting straight into impressive territory. Virtual Sweden forms a stew of harsh, industrial rhythms, grating whistles, and aeroplane-like effects that bring to mind Throbbing Gristle. Two other tracks are also based on the same audio (from a live performance in 1998)—Vertical Seeding and Virtuous Speed. During these pieces there seems to be some wilful deconstruction as the drum-like rhythms are removed for more ambient noises. Vertical Seeding begins with a heavy bass loop with overlaid clanging 'notes' and is soon joined by various scrapings, knockings, and vocal noises. This segueways into a Hox-like beat prior to an abrupt ending. Virtuous Speed is almost entirely made of noise loops for its entire length.
Inbetween the 'V.S.' tracks are various other historical Dome rarities. Both versions of Because we Must, a commission for dancer/choreographer Michael Clark, are included. Neither are particularly good and are more reminiscent of weak He Said tracks. Various brief experiments are also included such as the mercifully short Carpo, which sounds like a recording of an animal in pain, the dark and atmospheric Plosive Pluck, the forgettable Crossh, and the very noisy Gerbar.
More successful is the excerpt from 1983's Making a Meeting performance. The piece involved Graham and Bruce placing hand-written instructions in front of four musicians, recording the results, and then playing back the sound via a PA system. The result is an intriguing sonic experiment that, while not particularly musical, is both interesting and quite fun.
Yclept does for Dome something rather like what Coatings did for Wire. It produces an interesting overview of a group's sounds, and the various ways that these sounds can work, but at the expense of a coherent whole. The album lacks the continuance of Dome 2, for example, and in terms of out and out quality the release is somewhat variable. However, the three 'V.S.' pieces ensure the album is worthy of consideration and the impressive Making a Meeting excerpt is also engaging.
Craig Grannell (October, 1999)