Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Michael Ersing, the South Carolinian who performs as Yes Yes, whistles more than the next guy and what we hear in those whistle fits are the sweet sounds of madness. They are the coos and the tweeting coming from a belfry filled with birds taking cues from the bats and the lunatics below. They're honing a sound and a story that makes sense to them and for anyone else, it's the chatter of insanity.
What's so fantastic about Ersing's ramblings - these tripped up and tripped out tales of people losing it, feeling everything to be racing, moving way too fast to comprehend - is that they start from and then become just as beautiful and interesting as do the congregated clattering of a tree full of hopped up birds screeching from the sagging limbs of trees, causing the kind of din that you hear bellowing, but still take for a healthy discourse. There they are, up there on those limbs, giving it all they've got, not caring who's listening, hoping everyone is, and just letting the air have it. It's a kind of blaring and blinding conversation that each individual bird hears best. They know what they're thinking, what they're trying to get across to all of the others, perched in those trees, and they're just trying to be a little louder than the next guy. They let it all out, in a violent, verbal, rambling piece of expression that varies between mild and selective coherence.
It's mostly a one-way conversation, but it's all got to come out. It's got to be vocalized or they will explode. They can't just sit there and say nothing and they can't just say it quietly. Ersing seems like he might be the same way as every single one of those birds, up there in those trees, banging his fucking head against the wall, trying to get across all of these things that he's got gnawing at him. These are the weird thoughts - those miniscule fragments that tend to imbed themselves and never lodge free. His writing style is freeform and will very little need for structure in any strict sense.
You get the feeling that these snippets of concern and these dangling ideas give Ersing the impression that if he doesn't say them, it will be the end of him. They will find away to take him down. At one point here, he sings about a friend who mistook a reflection for someone else and he sings about him, "And he got mixed up and turned inside out backwards and became a melting shadow back into the flames of doubt where he sprung from and belongs." It's hard not to consider that a thought of blurred autobiography. It's exactly what those birds would be saying if they weren't sounding like birds.