Electronically-enhanced rock duo Ummagma return with their first album in seven years, and their first to ever be released on vinyl. With the long wait explained by the years it took them to move from Russia to Canada, Compass is the album that most accurately reflects the band’s post-genre approach.
Limited Vinyl LP £11.99
LP on Leonard Skully Records.
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- Limited edition
The gestation period for 'Compass', Ummagma's new LP, was five years. This is the term limit for some heads of state which goes some way to indicating the meticulous detail that's gone into this album. 'Compass' has a myriad of flavours, from dream-pop, to trip-hop, to dub, to post-rock. It's clear that Ummagma seek to create an aesthetic that's their own. That is refreshing. Some of the songs smack of a kind of deconstructed (don't worry, I hate that word as much as you) ambient music, with barely comprehensible, effect-drenched vocals, vast synth pads, and swirling soundscapes. I suppose what allows for all this ethereality is the ticking, tangible beats behind all of the tracks that save the album from dreariness. For example, 'F Talking' could be a bit of a dud, but it's remedied by the IDM-style beats that lend a lovely hypnotic edge.
I think this album is a little proggy and even neutered at times. Although I really like the sounds and the arrangements, I find the actual songs a little lacking. That's not to say there's anything particularly wrong with them, just that there's nothing jumping out at you. Perhaps songcraft has taken a backseat to this emphasis on certain arrangements and sounds. Nonetheless this is still a decent effort, and should sate the appetite of post-rockers and dream-poppers.
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