If Yves Tumor did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them, so that’s what Sean Bowie did—not once, but again and again, across a string of protean albums and indelible images that, in less than a decade, have already taken the shape of a once-in-a-generation vision.
Yves Tumor grew up in places like Knoxville and Miami, figuring out the guitar from alt-rock and the piano from Motown—just two of the strands that lace their pan-genre pop music, along with noise, ambient, rock, psych, electronic dance, and, somehow, many more. They moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a tour mate of Mykki Blanco, earning their own following with early releases that swirled cryptic R&B through passages of harsh noise and liquid beauty, made more phantasmagorical with field recordings and pitch-shifted vocals.
In 2018, Yves Tumor created a masterpiece, Safe in the Hands of Love, their Warp Records debut, a universally acclaimed personal synthesis that Pitchfork gave a whopping 9.1. Calling it “primal, beautiful, and beseeching,” Jayson Greene said that “it dwarfs everything the artist has released by several orders of magnitude. The leap is so audacious it’s disorienting.” The next leap came in 2020 with the steamy glam odyssey Heaven to a Tortured Mind. Heavy on live instrumentation—guitars, basses, organs, synths, winds, and vocal duets—instead of samples and loops, it also produced an unforgettable video for “Gospel for a New Century,” in which Yves Tumor, always ahead of every curve, beat Lil Nas X to the devilish punch.