Yves Tumor: A Familiar Sound Crafted In Mystery

Yves Tumor was born in Knoxville, Tennessee by the name Sean Bowie. As a teenager, they turned to music to escape from their conservative surroundings. Little did the world know that Sean Bowie would later emerge into the public as Yves Tumor, one of the most genre-bending musicians of our time.

For the most part, facts about Yves Tumor are shrouded in mystery. Despite being asked in several interviews, Tumor’s exact age remains unknown. Conventions like age and legal names have been minimized, and it adds to their allure. It’s widely agreed, though, that their ascent into mass notoriety began when they signed to Warp Records in 2017.

From there, shortly after joining Warp, Tumor released a compilation album titled “Experiencing The Deposit Of Faith.” In 2018, we witnessed the release of “Safe In The Hands Of Love,” featuring the single “Noid,” which showcased Tumor’s immense potential. Pitchfork wrote that “Noid” was as “a beautiful new strain of pop darkness only Tumor could conjure up.”

Two years later, we were presented with the critically acclaimed album “Heaven to a Tortured Mind,” which served as a precursor to Tumor’s latest and most complete work, “Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume” (or simply “Hot Between Worlds”).

This 12-track project, spanning just under 38 minutes, is nothing short of magnificent. In an era where social media captivates audiences and exposes them to various music genres like never before, artists are attempting genre-bending sounds and collaborations. However, I’m here to tell you that no one does genre-bending better or more naturally than Yves Tumor.

The album title alone evokes thought and a “huh” response from most, and that’s what makes Tumor so special. Their ability to provoke deep dives into their art feels effortlessly delivered. It’s not random; it’s a carefully calculated and mysterious approach that draws you in and keeps you intrigued, yearning for more.

The screeching yells and deep breathing on the opening track, “God Is A Circle,” are so captivating that they leave you wondering what else is to come. With any other artist, you might quickly skip the song or question its purpose. But with Tumor, it’s the timing, the mystique, the look, and the unknown that keep you invested. The head-spinning visual, directed by Jordan Hemingway, is reminiscent of your favorite thriller film, featuring Tumor rising from the dead, being dragged to an eerie dinner party hosted by nuns, and even being cavity searched after being submerged in a frozen lake.

Following “God Is A Circle,” we encounter tracks like “Lovely Sewer” and “Meteora Blues,” which feature melodic choruses reminiscent of your favorite early 2000s rock bands. “Heaven Surrounds Us Like A Hood,” an electronic guitar-heavy track, serves as a pivotal point in the album, contributing to the carefully crafted rollercoaster ride operated by Tumor.

On the latter half of the album, Tumor’s vocal range and ability to seamlessly shift in and out of the instrumentation, co-produced by the legendary Noah Goldstein, truly stand out. 

Song number seven, “Operator,” by Tumor, channels sonics that evoke memories of the legendary musician Prince. Now, I know what most of you reading this are thinking: “Prince and Yves Tumor shouldn’t be mentioned in the same conversation.” Well, please understand that I’m not claiming Tumor’s legacy is on par with Prince’s. I fully acknowledge Prince’s enduring impact and immense talent within the music industry and beyond. However, I would like to challenge you to find three other artists in history who have emulated Prince’s vocals as convincingly as Tumor has done in this song.

Personally, my favorite track, “Fear Evil Like Fire,” perfectly displays the vocal versatility I’m referring to. As someone who listens to a diverse range of music, it’s rare for me to encounter an artist who can incorporate elements from various genres without feeling overdone or losing their own unique sound and vibe. 

Yves Tumor transcends the boundaries of genre, appearing as an almost otherworldly enigma blessed upon us in our lifetime. Only time will reveal what’s next for Tumor, but one thing is certain: we will eagerly await their future endeavors.

Written by: Huey Melendez

Graphics and Assets Created by: William ‘Cortez’ Artis

Edited by: Lexi Deverich