Ummagma – Compass

Though any Ummagma release is welcomed with eager intrigue and anticipation by us among a great many the recent Caravan single raised the ante for the band’s new album with its captivation soaked release. The fact, though we have had numerous singles and EPs between, that Compass comes a lengthy seven years after its same day released two predecessors only added to the excitement coated suspense. What the duo’s third full-length offers is their most eclectic and rousing collection of tracks and quite simply their finest most exhilarating moment to date.

The pair of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov embraces everything from shoegaze, dream and synth pop to electronic and rock driven imagination with plenty more in the abundant enterprise of their new encounter. it is a release and collection of songs though which still revel in the atmospheric and ambient dreamscapes the Ontario based pair has earned thick acclaim and a potent reputation for. The album’s first single suggested that the Ummagma sound had evolved to a whole new tapestry of adventure and diversity, a bold aural kaleidoscope now confirmed and taken across a compelling array of individually and uniquely fresh landscapes by Compass.

The album opens up with Rolling and instantly infests the senses with its animated funk incited rhythms. Hitting its joyous stride soon after, the track bounces along dragging the listener to their feet, Kretov’s vocals a ringleader to the boisterous escapade. With its Talking Heads meets Dalek I Love You like shuffle, the track gets the release off to a thrilling start, one more than accentuated by successor Caravan.

The second track similarly had attention and instincts alive with its rhythmic introduction alone, bold tenacious beats a tribal intimation within the suggestive sonic vegetation that surround them. With body and imagination swiftly enslaved, McLarnon’s ever siren tones warmly caress as the song expands its scenically melodic emprise while the alternating blend of the duo’s voices only adds to the cinematic lure and enticing climate of the exceptional encounter.

Otherwise is next up, the song sharing another individual clime of sound and flavour as Caribbean-esque hues gently but firmly trot within an evolving dream pop serenade. More than ever it proved so easy to sink into the soundscapes of Ummagma as within just three songs Compass had unveiled a new plateau of craft, imagination, and temptation; an enticement nagging at the senses as eagerly within the electronic ambience coloured LCD. With voices as much a lively texture as the sounds courting the same evocative space, the track swept across the senses to, if not quite to the same heights as its predecessors, strongly captivate.

Equally the dream nurtured pop of Elizabeth 44 proved a beacon of persuasion and manipulation, guiding hips and attention with a knowing smile as McLarnon again beguiled, while Blown straight after was swiftly under the skin through its opening indie strokes of guitar alone. As its atmosphere grew and thickened with crystalline synth tempting and a hazy breath the track only enhanced its hold especially as cosmopolitan shapes and melodic silhouettes came forth to dance with keen rhythms and conjuring imagination.

The following predominantly instrumental F-Talking is one of those Ummagma tracks which sparks a fresh inference upon the imagination with every listen, its ambient search and discovery enthralling and interpretation never concluded with successor Galicticon, a spatial float across an expansive melodic sky of equal intimation, just as potent on ears and thoughts.

The diverse character of Compass continues at pace with Lotus strolling in on a shoegaze swing as Kretov walks its wiry threads. There is a touch of Paul Haig to the excellent song which only adds to its rich presence as too a Cocteau Twins like seducing which makes for a similarly alluring essence within the pastoral summer of High Day that follows with matching fascination.

The pair of Colors II and Cretu ensures a fair share of the imagination is cast on their adventures too, the first a slice of indie rock with a folk meets post punk shading and the second an ambient glide across mercurial and unpredictable scenery, every instrumental second a dawning of new suggestive sights to captivate thoughts and senses.

The radiant Bouquet brings Compass to a mesmeric conclusion, its hug shadow clad yet brightly seductive and breath foreboding but rousing. It is an eagerly magnetic end to an album which charmed, tantalised and absorbed from start to finish with moments of creative rapture set in between. Ummagma just go from strength to strength, from bold adventure to striking imagination releases by release; Compass the indisputable proof.

Compass is out now via Leonard Skully Records; available @ http://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/compass

https://www.facebook.com/ummagma   https://twitter.com/ummagma

Pete RingMaster 31/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Venus Theory – Nightwalker (Pt. 1)

Having more than impressed around two years ago under the moniker London Has Fallen with the album Breathe, the duo of Alecia Gates and Cameron Gorham take things to another level with Nightwalker (Pt. 1). Now named Venus Theory, their creative union takes all the alternative/melodic rock and electronic qualities already established in their sound into new pastures of maturity and adventure within a release which consumes almost devours ears and imagination with emotive and atmospheric intensity.

Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, first came together in 2013 and over time earned increasing praise and attention especially through a pair of albums in Fracture and even more so Breathe. When the move to Venus Theory we cannot tell you but it comes with a definite evolution in their music which quickly reveals a darker more experimental edge and equally potent new attributes in Nightwalker (Pt. 1).

First track Fire opens like mist, its electronic dust coming together around the ever enticing vocals of Gates. With her harmonic tones a beacon in its shadowed immersion of ears, the song continues to slowly but evocatively swirl around the senses with gothic and emotive suggestion with Gorham’s keys casting a tapestry of electronic drama as haunting and powerful as Gates’ soaring voice.

The following Afraid to Let Go similarly simmers around the listener as Gates’ harmonic beauty unravels the song’s heart and emotion, its grace as haunting and seductively solemn as its predecessor’s yet with an elegant radiance which invites unbridled attention. It is like a glimpse into a bigger reflection of sound and emotive exploration yet a full and rich look which fascinates and absorbs the imagination like a moth to the flame before Echo resonates with electronic ripples and mystique soaked melodic suggestiveness. There is a keener edge and weight to the track, in both its industrial nurtured temptation and Gate’s vocal fervency. The track is outstanding, the peak of the already impressing release though its successor makes a powerful challenge.

Lay Down shares a bolder electronic serenade with its rhythmic undercurrent a skittish tempting inviting feet and bodies to share its tenacity. Above its shuffle, melodies and vocals unite in harmonic intimation of the song’s heart and soul; a mix which sees the release once more beguiles ears and thoughts but with a greater potency in luring the body to physically and greedily involved.

The release ends with Heart Still Beating; an atmospheric kiss with deep realms of melodic splendour and emotion drenched atmospherics, Gates and Gorham absorbing the listener into their creative depths and imagination once again through another individual haunting current of emotion and sound. It is a transfixing end to an EP which infests and explores the listener as much as its own dark corners and emotional intensity and a release which confirms Venus Theory as one of the most mesmeric treats around.

Nightwalker (Pt. 1) is released Oct 6th.

https://venustheory.com    https://www.facebook.com/venustheory

Pete RingMaster 26/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Folie – Sorrow

Some songs make a swift persuasion, others creep up on you for similar success, and there are those which seize attention with a virulence which almost takes the breath away. Sorrow, the new single from Folie, inescapably belongs to the latter. It is a slice of imposingly danceable pop embracing an array of styles and flavours yet belonging to none tagging wise which has the body bouncing and spirit bounding within the  touch of its first bubbly beat and melodic shimmer.

Florida hailing, Folie is a collective of dedicated producers, performers, songwriters, and musicians uniting their own “unique approach to their artistry”. Earlier this year, the band released a well-received debut EP in the shape of Gorgeous, a release just as Sorrow which is taken from it, weaving a tapestry of pop, indie, electronic, hip hop, dance and a host of other ear grabbing flavours.

The single instantly whets the appetite with its fleet footed bass pulsing and crispy percussion, keys and guitar soon adding their colourful strokes to the blossoming encounter. Vocals bring a Libertines meets punk spicing to the growing mix whilst the funky animation of the song offers a dance/alternative rock enterprise with a touch of the Tom Tom Club to its swing.

It is a captivating web of sound and styles which only seems to increase its hold as frantic energies increase and infest the imagination. The fade out is annoying but that is the only thing, just down to personal tastes, to offer up as a ‘temper’ to a lustful recommendation of a track ensuring a lively summer is far from over.

The Gorgeous EP is available now @ https://folie1.bandcamp.com/album/gorgeous

https://www.facebook.com/Officialfoliee

Pete RingMaster 12/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Jack of None -Who Shot Bukowski

Having released one of the most fascinating albums of 2016, US trio experimental brother sister trio Jack of None offer up one of this year’s most compelling in its successor Who Shot Bukowski. Weaving a tapestry of art, alternative, post punk and electronic rock, to simplify their sound, the band infests ears and fingers the psyche across ten tracks of creative drama. It is a journey into the shadowy side of the human condition, an adventure into devious infectiousness, and increasing addiction to embrace with every manipulative listen.

Splitting themselves between Philippines capital Manila and Chicago, Jack of None consists of brothers A.G. (principal composer on guitar, bass and synths) and Julian Syjuco (guitar) alongside sister Maxine (poet-songwriter and vocalist). Last year their first album, Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?, was greeted with widespread acclaim, going on to receive 3 nominations at the 15th Independent Music Awards including Best Album in its genre, though what that genre maybe is anyone’s guess such the eclectic nature of their imagination and sound. Who Shot Bukowski is destined to not only replicate its predecessor’s success but thrust the threesome towards thicker and richer attention with its irresistible theatre of contagious intrigue and bold enterprise.

Swiftly Who Shot Bukowski reveals that doughty adventure and imagination in opener Strangest Bedfellows, allowing the hints and seeds sown in the more industrial lined Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear? to blossom and flourish. The track glides in on a slow swing, guitar and rhythms teasing with tantalising bait around the seductive temptation of Maxine’s voice. Steelier grooves erupt as things get provocatively hazier and magnetically sinister but still the emotive affair between ear and song continues to have the thickest grip whilst sharing increasingly catchy and flirtatious lures along the way.

It is an outstanding start swiftly matched by the following pair of Sticks and Stones and X-Y-Sex. The first of the two merges industrial and psych rock with folk pop hues, its touch simultaneously grainy and warm as Maxine erotically touches the imagination with her tones. A Marilyn Manson like causticity breaks as the track bursts into a more volatile state but soon returning to that initial now increasingly jazz funk laced calm; a carousel which continues to turn across the song before its successor steals the show with its noir lit beauty and haunting contagion. The previous track reminded of US industrial electro rock outfit Scream Machine, this even more so but equally has something of eighties UK band The Passage to it too. Like a dream almost nightmarish in its Orwellian design as visual eroticism teases, the track is pure bewitchment leading the imagination on a flirtatious dance from start to finish.

Dear Georges (Vous Petit Monstre) is next, an even darker bête noire of emotion and thoughts with its entrancing charms and seductive shadows, all led by Maxine’s almost predatory melodic grace and the similarly disarming exploits of her brothers. It too carries flames of metallic toxicity through the raw torrents of guitar but is at its most fantastic with its deviously mellow caresses.

Lyrically every song is a story, a gothic poem of sorts which is as much an engineer of the imagination as their delivery and the sound cradling their revelations, The Brainwashers another fine example within its raw dance and invasive electronic machination. A uniquely beguiling hook offsets a slight repetition of earlier tracks in certain moments, a lining of dark sounds and insidious suggestion adding greater individuality to the encounter before Polyamorous Serial Monogamist writhes seductively in ears. Every melody and smouldering syllable is a physically swerving enticement only accentuated by the surge of guitar and keenly slapping beats, it all woven into a mesmeric incantation.

From the six seconds of Again, the excitable rock ‘n’ roll exploits of The Princess and the Pistol (Can You Feel That?) tenaciously romp with the senses, the track a restrained yet tempestuous incitement while next up Little Devil Girl provides its own suggestive haunting with almost visceral charm and beauty. It is an edge which grows with the subsequent surge of guitars and bass groan which emerges within the garage punk scented treat, the superb encounter never losing its composure but instilling lingering seeds of fear.

The album closes with Tenderly, She Said, a song which from a melodic kiss of acoustic guitar grumbles and smooches with the ever arresting presence of Maxine. Progressive in its tone, hungry in its diversity of texture and flavouring, the song grabs ears and imagination with sublime craft and ease, epitomising the album with its own inescapable alchemy.

Who Shot Bukowski simply captivated and thrilled from its first moment in speakers and ears, and indeed has only tightened its lure and grip ever since. This time around Jack of None would not be too misguided in hoping those previous nominations become awards.

Who Shot Bukowski is out now across most stores and @ https://jackofnone.bandcamp.com/album/who-shot-bukowski

http://www.jackofnone.net/    https://www.facebook.com/jackofnoneband/

Pete RingMaster 02/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Snuttock: An introduction of Rituals

Photograph by Laurie A Smith

Allow us to introduce you to Snuttock, a band from Baltimore in Maryland consisting of Bryan Lee, a classically trained musician, and Christopher Lee Simmonds, the latter also a founding member of Michigan progressive metallers Thought Industry. There the background to the pair and Snuttock ends though the fun and real discovery of the electro outfit is through their music. Some might pin it down as synth pop and certainly that is its breeding but with sonic and emotion cast shadows, a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, and more twists and curves than a descending slinky, it makes for a proposition which never leaves ears and imagination lost for adventure.

Formed in 2003, Snuttock released debut album Straight Jacket Life two years later. It was the first insight to the pair’s blossoming fusion of industrial rapacity with the instinctive allure of synth pop; a blend shaping Carved and Sutured in 2008 and its collection of new tracks and dance-floor friendly remixes. Where we come in and cast a glimpse into, thanks to Lee and Simmonds themselves, is with the band’s last two releases, Endless Rituals and Rituals Redux. The first is in a way the duo’s proper second album, though it seems to be classed as the third, and was released in 2013. Its successor came out last year and sees a host of artists presenting remixes of its predecessor’s tracks, the album acting like a companion piece to the originals bringing new sides and personas to their already captivating characters.

What Endless Rituals quickly establishes is the diversity across the sound and creative enterprise of Lee and Simmonds; songs ranging from simply synth pop to industrial, dark electro, ambient and much more.  As expectations and assumptions of what comes next arise they are quickly shot down and left floundering as song by song the release persistently presents a new facet to its swiftly captivating presence. For all its twists and new sides though, there is a coherency to it all which links it all as something truly individual to Snuttock.

From opener Attention, intrigue is an eager response, the opening shadows of the track rich in suggestion and invitation before the track breaks into a vibrant stroll. That vibrancy is soon a flood across hungrily catchy endeavour, grabbing body and ears with zeal and infectious energy. There is a feel of early Mute Records bands to the song, The Normal coming to mind most and the laying down of the first compelling moment in the album’s landscape.

The dark wave scented, robotically natured Single Cell Antenna is the first twist in the emprise of sound within the album, its dance dexterity and pop glow managing to also cast a dystopian shadow over the affair. New turns flow through ears from thereon in, the emotional reflection and melancholic sharing of the Depeche Mode like People Too, the reserved but open funk of We Learn with its BEF air, and the dark ambience of Nameless straight away expanding the broad terrains honed by Snuttock. The last of the three is like a flight across cosmopolitan lands, its instrumental blossoming in adventure and suggestion with something akin to a merger of Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby, and pre-split Human League.

It is fair to say that every track within Endless Rituals stirs the senses; the outstanding and dark, almost predacious presence of Crawl invading the psyche with a prowess reminding of UK band Defeat giving one particular favourite moment though with its thought romancing, dark atmospherics One Day and Spitting Into The Wind with its Blancmange meets Artery like emotive theatre leave their magnetic mark. Even throwing a handful plus of references to give a hint of the songs on offer, the uniqueness of Snuttock is the driving force and continues to captivate across remaining tracks like the haunting post rock/electro ambience of Ghost and the irresistible electro punk popper Advice.

Endless Rituals is a treat, even more so if you can get the deluxe edition with an additional four tracks, which newcomers to Snuttock should make their entry point though Rituals Redux certainly makes for a potent invitation too. Even after years of taking them on board, we have yet to get our personal heads around the appeal and maybe even purpose of remixes especially when the originals are so impressive and dominate. We can equally understand their popularity and in turn demand for others though, even more so after listening to Rituals Redux. Whether it was because we heard it first and numerous times before Endless Rituals, the album like a film or TV show hinting at the majesty of a source book, or simply the quality of the tracks on offer, the mix of all maybe, it certainly awoke an appetite for the Snuttock enterprise and a fun in imagining their originals.

First the only ‘negative’ with the album and that is its radio show skits and bumpers. Whether they are taken from a real show or are simply cast to suggest that surrounding they do niggle personal tastes, especially when coming back to back. It is a minor thing of course and certainly once the music descends and remixes from the likes of Psy’Aviah, Marsheaux, [:SITD:], TweakerRay, and Sebastian Komor, is forgotten as feet quickly leap and the spirit jumps opening track and a sparkling take on Advice by Leæther Strip. Each track takes the core essence and heart of the original songs and casts them in a fresh landscape of imagination or shadow of dark suggestiveness. Major highlights for personal tastes include Sebastian Komor’s fizzy take on We Learn and indeed Marsheaux’s warmly seductive version, The Metroland Protocol’s hypnotic twist on Single Cell Antennae, the noir lit take of the same song by The Rorschach Garden, and Psy’Aviah’s haunting at times senses stalking remix of Spitting Into The Wind.

As we said though, and maybe surprisingly, considering its 2 CD, eighteen track length, Rituals Redux hits the perfect  spot with artists such as [:SITD:], Amarta Project, Statik SeKt, Retrogramme, Red This Ever, TweakerRay, Guilt Trip, L’Avenir, Diskodiktator, and Deutsche Bank Machine equally lighting ears and enjoyment with provocative interpretation and craft.

So that is Snuttock, a band which if synth pop and broad electronic adventure is your appetite should make for a highly pleasing new exploration.

Check them out more @ http://www.snuttock.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Snuttock/  and their music @ http://www.snuttock.com/store.html

Pete RingMaster 31/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Pink Diamond Revue – Miss Lonely Hearts

The Pink Diamond Revue artwork_RingMasterReview

Carrying a sense of cinematic and provocative drama with every compelling note and rhythmic pulse, the new single from British electro psych rockers The Pink Diamond Revue, is pure aural theatre. Miss Lonely Hearts offers a dark seduction as mischievously flirtatious as it is ominously intriguing. It is a slice of noir lit, fifties and sixties scented suggestiveness, and quite irresistible.

Equally there is a garage rock ‘n’ roll/punkiness to the song, an underlying confrontational edge which adds to the imagery and dramatic sonic painting spun by guitarist Tim Lane and drummer Robert Courtman-Stock. Uniting behind Acid Dol, “a model from another dimension”, the duo entangles modern beats and imaginative devilry with riffs, samples, and vocal harmonies lured from those previously mentioned decades. As Miss Lonely Hearts reveals, it is a combination which simply infects body and imagination

Since uniting, The Pink Diamond Revue has become a magnet on the live scene, infecting venues and festivals to increasing acclaim with their addictively invasive and compelling sound. Alone Miss Lonely Hearts suggests why, the track immediately swamping ears with magnetic yet challenging rhythms as electronics and especially the wiry grooves of Lane wind around ears and imagination. Dark and alluring, inviting and evocatively temperamental, the track is organic rock ‘n’ roll at its most enthralling and in turn rousing.

As melodies seduce, beats lure, and samples conjure, the track additionally courts essences of bands such as Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Calling All Astronauts, and The Avalanches but swiftly weaves its own identity in bold and tempting sound amid aural mystery.

The Pink Diamond Revue takes the listener on an adventure of clandestine intrigue and shadow clad revelry with Miss Lonely Hearts, and boy is it fun.

Miss Lonely Hearts is available now.

Upcoming Live Dates:

August 6th Glastonbelly Salisbury

August 7th Roadkill Camden

August 20th Some Weird Sin Brixton Windmill

September 4th Purple Turtle Reading

https://www.facebook.com/thepinkdiamondrevue

Pete RingMaster 03/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Alfred Hall – Safe & Sound EP

Alfred-Hall-Image _RingMasterReview

Fuelled with the qualities to be a warm and captivating soundtrack fit for basking in the mesmeric summer sun to, Norwegian duo Alfred Hall release their new EP Safe & Sound, the band’s first offering to the UK market. The band and their absorbing sounds will be no strangers to other European regions but now it is time for British awareness to be stoked up, with easy to expect success in tow.

The band consists of Hans Thomas and Bjørn Tveit, childhood friends since the age of 10 who decided to form a band in the summer of 2009 while working as farmhands on Thomas’ family’s farm. Within three years, the pair had stirred up national attention and appetites for their fascinating sound, debut single So Bright finding strong success on national and international radio. 2013 saw the Norwegian release of first album Wilderness, a proposition finding itself nominated for Best Pop Album at the Norwegian Grammys. With its title track gracing the worldwide Netflix trailer for Ricky Gervais’ comedy-drama series Derek, the Safe & Sound EP is Alfred Hall’s nudge on UK’s ears and fair to say it needs little time to potently seduce.

The single Safe & Sound opens up the EP, instantly infecting ears with its exotic percussion and jabbing beat as the gossamer caresses of the pair’s vocals wrap and float over the senses. Melodies are just as bright and magnetic whilst being skilfully contrasted by thicker and darker rhythmic hues as the song strolls and flirts with vivacious energy and contagion.  You can imagine yourself bouncing within the kiss and warm reassurance of the summer to the song, its addictive catchiness simply inescapable

Following a Simon Field Remix of the first song, So Bright entices with its own cast of temptations; boisterous rhythms and charming guitar jangles crowding round the bewitching falsetto laced vocals. The song is like an aural portrayal of sun rays glistening on a rippling stretch of watery beauty, transfixing and calming yet with plenty of inviting agitation to stir the spirit into bolder life.

As the first, the track is like a hex on the imagination and eager feet, leaving a lingering presence even as closing song Wild At Heart provides a Paul Simon like spicing of melodic calm and reflection for ears and thought to immerse in. The radiance of guitars is matched in voice and keys, all aligning with the shadows of rhythms and emotional contemplation to alluring effect.

The song is a fine end to what is an introduction to budding UK fans of Alfred Hall; a proposal which it is easy to expect, whether by individual tracks or the EP as a whole, finding as much enthusiastic attention as the band’s music has found at home and further afield. The summer starts here.

The Safe & Sound EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/alfredhallpage   https://twitter.com/alfredhallmusic

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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