by Yves Tumor

Friday, May 5, 2023


'Kerosene!' (2020)

By Yves Tumor in 2020
Updated May 2023

Sean Lee Bowie, best known by the recording alias Yves Tumor, is an American musician and producer of experimental music, born in Miami, Florida and currently based in Turin, Italy.

To date,…

Sean Lee Bowie, best known by the recording alias Yves Tumor, is an American musician and producer of experimental music, born in Miami, Florida and currently based in Turin, Italy.

To date, they have released five studio albums: When Man Fails You (2015), Serpent Music (2016), Safe in the Hands of Love (2018), Heaven to a Tortured Mind (2020), and Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) (2023).

Life and career
Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tumor started making music at age 16 as an outlet away from "dull, conservative surroundings." They taught themself to play drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. Describing their experience growing up in Tennessee as unpleasant, Yves moved at age 20 to San Diego, and then after college, to Los Angeles. They met Mykki Blanco in 2012, later touring for two and a half years throughout Europe and Asia.

In the early 2010s, Tumor recorded as Teams, and made music which AllMusic described as "post-chillwave". They debuted the Yves Tumor project in 2015 with an EP for Berlin's experimental club label Janus, and another one for Blanco's label, Dogfood MG. That same year, they released their first album, When Man Fails You (which would later be re-released by Apothecary Compositions on April 29, 2016).

In September 2016, Tumor signed with PAN Records and released their label debut, Serpent Music. Yves had worked on the album for three years after moving to Leipzig, Germany. The album was recorded between Miami, Leipzig, Los Angeles and Berlin. In Pitchfork's review of the album, critic Andy Beta compared Tumor's musical style to James Ferraro and Dean Blunt, and noted their use of "unsettling percussive loops and field recordings to create a mood as if lost in a strange urban landscape."

In September 2017, Tumor released a compilation album titled Experiencing the Deposit of Faith for free. Later that week, it was revealed through a tour announcement that Tumor had signed to Warp Records. Following the announcement, the artist embarked on a tour with a new audiovisual show.

In September 2018, Tumor released their Warp debut, Safe in the Hands of Love, with no prior announcement. It was preceded by the singles "Noid" on July 24, "Licking an Orchid" featuring James K on August 29, and "Lifetime" on September 3. The album received universal acclaim from music critics. Pitchfork's Jayson Greene stated in the review that the album "dwarfs everything the artist has released by several orders of magnitude. The leap is so audacious it's disorienting."

Tumor's fourth album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, was released on April 3, 2020, preceded on March 3 by the single "Kerosene" featuring Diana Gordon. Alexis Petridis, reviewing the album for The Guardian, awarded it Album of the Week, describing it as "extraordinary: experimental, capable of any genre, with an internal logic powering its shifts in mood. There’s real skill involved in coming up with something that sounds coherent while shifting through so many styles.”

In October 2020, Tumor said in an interview with Michèle Lamy " I have another EP and a whole album basically not finished, but ready to start finishing. I’ve been very busy during the quarantine." In December 2020, Tumor released the single "let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out" in collaboration with Kelsey Lu, featuring Kelly Moran and Moses Boyd. In July 2021, they released the EP The Asymptotical World, recorded in collaboration with their bandmates, Chris Greatti and Yves Rothman.

In February 2023, Tumor was interviewed by Courtney Love for Interview magazine, in which they briefly hinted at an upcoming album. Shortly after, in March 2023, Tumor released their fifth album, "Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)", critically acclaimed as an ambitious, "ecstatic fusion of alt-rock and R&B", "spellbinding art rock", and a "Romantic, corporeal, gothy" offering that disrupts "hierarchies of gender, race, desire...and performance" via its "intense magnification and worship of life, death and spirituality." Tumor was part of the Coachella 2023 lineup.

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