Capturing Yves Tumor, As Painted by Cody Critcheloe

This week’s FRONTPAGE is a multimedia amalgamation of a multifaceted artist at the forefront of today’s creative avant garde – the one and only Yves Tumor. Combining paintings, poetry, and a new music video, this feature is the closest we could come to capturing the essence of the infinitely unpredictable artist.

Earlier this year, Yves Tumor released their exceptional new album Heaven to a Tortured Mind via WARP Records. It seemed almost impossible that they could follow up their instant 2018 masterpiece – Safe in the Hands of Love, an album that Pitchfork rightfully described as a “benchmark in experimental music” – with a work just as maddeningly great. But that was precisely what they did.

Like its creator, it’s a record of chaotic, conflicted beauty – too indeterminate and complex to be pinned down in normal music journalist terms. Fittingly, then, the normal standards of promotional material didn’t seem to apply to Tumor. Their work demands to be engaged with, not explained.

With that in mind, we enlisted the expertise of the equally multitudinous artist and all around indie icon Cody Critcheloe (known to many as the impresario behind musical project SSION) to create a series of paintings of Tumor. As friends, artistic peers, and kindred spirits, they succeed in (partly) capturing a sense of the intimacy and intangibility that bleed through Tumor’s own work. They are presented here alongside a piece of text written by poet and musician James Massiah and Tumor’s brand new visual for album track “Strawberry Privilege,” which you can watch below.

“Slip through the side door
Twist it so it is
If it’s not quite
And turn the light off
Make it darker
Darker still
If you don’t mind
I almost lost mine
More than once
And my soul too
I burnt bright blue in the
There was colour too
Yayo in abundance
A yellowish tinge
Twist it more
Twist it so it isn’t quite so
I don’t wanna see anyone
I know
No more
I don’t want them to know
it’s me
When I bust back through
Saloon doors
Fresh out the salon
Saturn returns yo
Now twist it
Twist it more
Till you can see the horns
Distort it
Beyond your memories
Of what it was because
It ain’t about to be that no
And neither we
Neither’s they
Do you think that Nimrod
should stay?
Or maybe you think John
should go – so long salome
If they do”

/ Cody Critcheloe

“We all go home
Bathsheba’s coming too
With Jezebel
And bring my shoes
I’m staying round at oscar’s
For at least another eve
They said that we could
have the keys
The trick was just to
Twist it
A few more times than you
Normally would once it gets
in the lock
You know how it all goes
Rock and roll
The bars
The stars
They’re all coming round to
And our new way of thinking
I guess
You’d say
It’s twisted
Twisted like this tale of mine
Did I tell you the one about
Maybe it’s best saved for
another time
When you’re not so
When you straighten up
I’ll tell you so
You can feel the full effect
It’s gonna twist you up
My g
Big time
Big people ting
One shot of tonic
6 of gin and seven heads on
the tap juice
Must behead them
Bar human
Getting sloppy in your not

Highsnobiety / Cody Critcheloe

Highsnobiety / Cody Critcheloe

“What is your age
Have you clocked on or out
Paid your debts to the bailiff
at the door
They was knocking hard
The bars on the front gate
was twisted so they snuck
right through
Heard they was looking for
For being something that
weren’t true
At least to their idea of true
Said that you slipped
through their grip
More times than once now
fish and chips
Is what they’ll make your
salmon dance
If they can pin you down in
Or grande bretagne or italy
Or germany
Where’er you be – usa
You stay so slick and
And serpentine and
Slip through time and
And space so softly
It seems they be a spirit
See you on the other side
Say oui
As earrings drip and nose
ring bleeds
Let’s twist this
For all to see
And ride the beast right out
the sea until we all
No longer be”