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

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Pete RingMaster 31/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Caravan

This June sees the release of the first album in seven years from Ummagma and to herald its arrival whilst offering a rather delicious teaser the indie pop duo has just released the two track single Caravan. As ever the pair’s sound is as eclectic as it is evocative and as is the trend with atmospheric senses involving mastery the new single evokes and inspires the imagination to individual adventures alongside its own.

Emerging in 2003, Ummagma is the creative union of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov. Ontario based, the pair’s sound is an imaginative fusion of everything from dream pop and shoegaze to post-punk, indie, space rock and much more, it all immersed in a tapestry of ambient and electronic enterprise. The duo has regularly been compared to bands such as Cocteau Twins, Curve, and Daughter but as Caravan alone insists, references which only hint at rather than reveal the richness of the band’s music and imagination.

It is fair to say that our personal appetite to Ummagma’s music is constant but has flourished in varying strengths across their releases and ahead of that new album in Compass, has reached lustful greed courtesy of Caravan. The song instantly had ears gripped as drums set out their ridiculously hypnotic and rousing stroll. Atmospheric suggestion is just as swiftly at play with the imagination, its soundscape of warm wide plains blossoming with suggestive vegetation. McLarnon’s warm magnetic tones are also soon caressing ears as the song sweeps into a synth pop-esque canter, Kretov’s subsequent vocals just as tempting within the pair’s web of musical insistence.

The song is pure adventure, an intimate travelogue of intrigue, intimation, and craft which had the body bouncing and ears enthralled from start to finish.

Ty i Ya accompanies Caravan offering up its own individual temptation; one funk lined and eighties synth pop bred. There is something of Dalek I Love You to the song which only added to its quick appeal and it too brings an atmospheric cascade of enterprise and suggestion which mesmerised throughout even if with varying degrees of strength across its evocative landscape.  Ummagma is a band which is unafraid to push their boundaries and the imagination of others in unexpected ways, Ty i Ya proof it so often works a treat.

It is probably fair to say that any album, indeed release, from Ummagma is eagerly anticipated in numerous corners, Caravan ensures Compass will definitely be truly keenly awaited.

Caravan is out now through Leonard Skully Records; available @ https://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/caravan with Compass released on June 21th also via Leonard Skully Records digitally, on black vinyl and on CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov.

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Pete RingMaster 17/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Teksti-TV 666 – Aidattu Tulevaisuus

Hailing from Finland, Teksti-TV 666 creates a sound which is quite simply a web of entrapment, every strand bred from an individual flavour but all colluding in a compelling and inescapably contagious proposition called Aidattu Tulevaisuus. Simultaneously, the album is as punk and garage rock as it is shoegaze, metal, and psych rock bred with plenty more ingredients involved. Yet tagging it is easy, pure temptation.

The Facebook page for Teksti-TV 666 lists band members at eight, the press release for the their new encounter says six; a line-up which consists of four sometimes five electric guitars. Whoever is involved, how many strings are manipulated, what is easy to establish is that the band knows how to get under the skin with songs which dance with the imagination whilst toying with the senses. As evidenced by Aidattu Tulevaisuus, each track springs a multi-layered incitement whether a sonic roar or a calm bred intimation and all evolving in the ear with deception, craft, and imagination.

Aidattu Tulevaisuus opens with Turbo-Mondeo, the song emerging like sonic steam from a hidden pipe; coming closer until in engulfs the senses and that swiftly enterprising bond of guitars begin weaving their captivating tapestry. It is an assault though which is a blend of mellow and forcefulness, brewing a more volatile state as vocals and harmonies entice with a raw siren-esque hue. Already the variation in flavour and texture is uncaged, the track unveiling its tempestuousness in between unpredictable serenity for a perpetually infectious trespass.

The album’s track follows and immediately winds something akin to My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and a punk nurtured Asylums round ears. That inherent catchiness surging through the first track is as hungry in the second, as too another entanglement of styles within a mercurial climate of intensity and creative rabidity before Rauhankone in turn spreads post punk toxins. Chilled and chilling with its industrial lining, the track saunters along like a garage punk honed Leitmotiv merged with a noise pop engaged Sex Gang Children; again a rich and intricately built palette of hues embroiled in its inimitable and unique contagion.

Serverny swings in next on a Nintendo core deceit, a devious lure soon unleashing a sonic turbulence which in turn breeds its own drone cast contagion. Its incessant nagging is tempered by ever warm vocals tones and the surf sighs of a guitar but always there boasting its own cyclonic lure. It’s repetitious but never predictable invention, qualities matched within closing track Katko. From its first breath, the song is a thrilling trespass with its eager groove and crisply landing beats, the brooding throb of bass just as enjoyably niggly and irresistible within the rousingly hypnotic post punk/ noise/psych rock integrated majesty.

It is all superb stuff, every track an inescapable joy which will, given the chance, surely devour vastly more than passions beyond ours. Sung in the language of their homeland we cannot not give a clue to the lyrical themes involved but it matters little as Aidattu Tulevaisuus is a true highlight of the year and Teksti-TV 666 a band which deserves all the attention possible.

Aidattu Tulevaisuus is out now via Svart Records.

https://www.facebook.com/tekstitv666/

Pete RingMaster 21/09/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Some Kind of Illness – Awakening

In a time where each day and every twist within it brings some form of tension or reflection of humanity’s quest for self destruction, we need a place to escape, to embrace a calming beauty within the chaos. One such place is the new album from UK duo Some Kind of Illness. The mesmeric Awakening is an oasis in the turbulence, a realm of elegant ambiences and warm melodies and though shadows and melancholy equally line the flight of the release they are all part of the evocation guiding ears and thoughts to an experience reflecting the album’s title.

Hailing from Farnworth, Some Kind of Illness is the creation of brothers Mark and Paul Hinks. The project emerged around 2014 bringing an alternative/indie guitar sound which swiftly drew positive attention especially with the release of the pair’s self-titled debut album in 2015 By then the band had become a busy proposition on the surrounding live scene and played numerous iconic venues across Manchester and Liverpool spreading out across the UK as well as shared stages with the likes of Tom Hingley and The Jackals and going into the following year, The Primitives. 2016 also saw the again highly praised release of second full-length Souls as well as the unveiling of Nick Connors’ film Northern Lights for which they wrote the soundtrack.

With Awakening, the pair has explored the qualities and depths of a retro Roland D-50 synthesizer and an 808 Drum machine around their weaving of guitar suggestion. The album also moves within a lighter climate of emotion in comparison to its predecessors, again its title echoed across tracks which are unafraid to hug shadows and darker feelings but explore the beauty in all. It opens with the instrumental caress of its title track, keys and guitars wrapping each other’s grace in a slowly revolving flume of temptation. Its hypnotic beauty is followed by the equally calm climate of Neon Glass though immediately beats are a lively lure. There is a great eighties post punk/new wave feel to the track, bands such as Human League in its first guise and Eyeless in Gaza coming to mind as the song seduces the imagination.

No More Waiting embraces similar hues within its gentle hug of ears; its ethereal atmosphere warmly clinging to the vocal declaration before the pop kiss of Violet Dream floats over the senses like the morning mist on an autumn day. The song features the enchanting tones of Hara Su, an engaging spice on the beguiling melodies of guitar and keys which tease ears. There is a hint of discord to the track too, a whiff of unsettlement which sparks thoughts as potently as the reflective prowess of word and tone.

The captivation continues through the Slowdive-esque Memories In A Window and the instrumental whispering of Ledana, both tracks an individual province of melodic suggestiveness and emotional intimation which lure ears and thoughts away from a moment of reality. They in turn are followed and matched in temptation by Cyclone which welcomes the innocence graced tones of Daisy Davies as it immerses the senses.

The dark touches of the real world continue to be eluded with the celestial flight of Icarus, its lofty beguiling atmosphere lined with darker omens as keys and vocals float across the rich captivation while with its own off world spatial hints, Snowflakes gently falls around the poetic portrait cast by Virginia Martelozzo. Each is a bewitchment which almost haunts the senses before the shoegaze shadows of Crystal Light bring the release to a lucent close. Melodies sparkle off of its energetic slumber, vocals similarly a vibrant lure into the track’s radiant depths.

It is a fine end to an album which simply grows more beguiling and impressive listen by listen. We all need an escape from the surrounding tempest, the compelling echoes and layers of Awakening just might be yours.

Awakening is available now @ https://somekindofillness1.bandcamp.com/album/awakening-lp

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Pete RingMaster 16/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rat Fancy – Suck A Lemon EP

There is nothing artificial about the saccharine sound of Californian trio Rat Fancy or indeed excessively sweet yet a particular tooth is still a requirement for their sugary melodies and the intimate affability of their music. An instinctive almost sour look at life and its fake lures, often found in the Los Angeles climate the band springs from, ensures things never get too sickly and a similar underlying discordance to their music which ensures intrigue and unpredictability is a potent essence.  It all comes nicely together within Suck A Lemon; the band’s new captivating EP.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Diana Barraza (ex-Sweater Girls), guitarist/keyboardist Gregory Johnson, and drummer Gavin Glidewell and formed last year, Rat Fancy has already blessed 2017 with a trio of tracks via their Bandcamp. Each has been a fresh breeze of their shoegaze glazed indie pop now blowing even more eventfully within Suck A Lemon. Across the EP, the threesome resemble a fusion of eighties band Weekend and The Pixies with a light Belly-esque scent to it all; a mix emerging as something deceptively familiar yet distinct to Rat Fancy.

The release opens with I Can’t Dance To The Smiths Anymore and swiftly has ears drawn to its guitar jangle and the sweet tones of Barraza. Keys equally cast an amiable lure as the guitar weaves a magnetic twee toned melody; it all uniting in an infectiously lively serenade at times reminding of another British band from times past, The Freshies.

It is a bright and tempting start which is built upon by the more boisterous exploits of Five Fingers. Rhythms are a tenacious guide into the raw melody woven web of the song, everything from voice and sharp words to a wandering keys bred warble offering enticing hooks taking the EP to another level in no time.

It is a height backed up by the title track, the first of two versions found within Suck A Lemon. This first take has an energetic swing to its melodic carousel and bare sonic dance; a rawness which exposes all of their alluring attributes with honesty as Barraza’s vocals again captivate.

Beyond Belief is a gentle frank caress in sound and emotion with a smouldering melancholy in its charm while About You seduces with a Young Marble Giants like minimalism and beauty which with an emerging darker snarl to the guitars, takes best track honours. Both songs leave intrigue with a greedier focus; the second especially memorable even in its brief tenure of ears.

The EP closes with an equally impressive offering in a slower version of Suck A Lemon and boy does the already strong song blossom in this alternative guise. It is a siren of ears and imagination, so much more than simply a tempering of its earlier energy with Rat Fancy finding a richer presence and allure in its slimmer but more radiant variation.

Rat Fancy make a proper introduction to themselves with the Suck A Lemon EP, a thoroughly enjoyable encounter offering the promise of adventurously bright times ahead with the band.

The Suck A Lemon EP is out now through HHBTM Records and available @ https://ratfancy.bandcamp.com/album/suck-a-lemon and http://hhbtm.com/item.php?item_id=639

http://www.ratfancyla.com/    https://www.facebook.com/ratfancyla    https://twitter.com/ratfancyla

Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Amycanbe – Wolf

If like us you missed it at the time of release, Wolf is the latest album from Italian outfit Amycanbe which is well worth taking time out to go explore.  Creating a magnetic blend of electronic/indie pop and shoegaze/trip hop, the Cervia hailing quartet mesmerise the senses and imagination with their third full-length, its music a potent seduction led by the temptress tones of vocalist Francesca Amati.

Formed in 2002 by drummer/keyboardist Marco Trinchillo and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Mattia Mercuriali, Amycanbe became a quartet three years later with the addition of Amati and Paolo Gradari. The years since has seen the release of debut album, Being A Grown-Up Sure Is Complicated in 2007, its successor Mountain Whales in 2011, and Wolf two years ago with keyboardist and album producer Mattia Dallara now alongside Amati, Mercuriali, and Trinchillo.

Swiftly it is easy to understand why Wolf was well-received upon its release, the album from opener Grano a truly magnetic affair with moments which spark a rapturous response in a continual appetite for its sounds and presence. The first track smoulders on the ears straight away, keys and the harmonious lure of Amati a spatial kiss as electronic shooting stars fly. Hitting its optimistic stride, the song radiates warmth and temptation, slowly rising from its enticing slumber as an increasing energy infects its passing minutes though enjoyably it never catches truly aflame at any point instead continuing to tease and seduce with Amati heading the affair.

The following I Pay brings a familiar if undefined air to its craft and character; warmly hugging like an old friend with fresh revelations to share. As in the first, country rock seeded melodies entice and similarly bred breezes blow across its landscape, a bounty of imagination which increasingly evolves with unpredictable hues and twists before the more sinewy rock attributes of Where From cluster around the ever enthralling presence of Amati. With keys aligning darker groans alongside melody rich sighs under a web of guitar nurtured suggestion, the song grips attention even if not quite finding the ultimate sparks of its predecessors.

Fighting opens up with the minimalistic charm of Young Marble Giants before blossoming into a rousing yet still nicely reserved proposal with an eighties new wave air wrapped around the inspiring rise of keys bred strings. A track which grows to its glory over numerous pleasing listens rather than making an instant impact, it soon has the imagination aflame while 5 Is The Number easily captivates with a cosmopolitan yet intimate sway as great drama infests its bass and a matching adventure in its overall invention. As pleasing and striking as both are, they are eclipsed by Wolves and its creative theatre which has a touch of The Cellophane Flowers to it.

Through the deep pulse and electronic hum of the imaginatively eventful White Slide and the subsequent subtle melodrama of Bring Back The Grace, band and album simply hold ears like warm sirens while Febbraio smoulders in the same with a jazzy grace and salubrious flirtation as a slumberous atmosphere wraps wintery arms around the senses. Each leave pleasure in their vibrant wake before Queens steals best track honours with its glorious croon and an increasing roar reminding of bands such as Belly and Throwing Muses. The track is superb and only gets more potent over time to seal its status within the album.

Closing with the sultry instrumental of Orata and its swimming melodies within surf/psych rock shimmers, Wolf captivates with growing strength and tenacity as new depths are revealed with subsequent listens. It is not a brand new album but one those who love to be seduced by their music should seriously think about slipping into.

Wolf can be streamed and bought @ https://amycanbe1.bandcamp.com/album/wolf while you can check out our interview with Francesca Amati @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/the-lure-of-the-moon-and-serenades-exploring-amycanbe-with-vocalist-francesca-amati/

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Pete RingMaster 04/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright