miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2012

Free to Dream: Ummagma's Time Limited Gift

Over the past four months since Canadian/Ukrainian post-rock ethereal dreampop shoegaze duo UMMAGMA (I like to call them post-shoegazers) released their 2 debut albums “Antigravity” and self-titled “Ummagma”, they’ve been in the spotlight quite a bit. A spotlight of all kinds of colors it seems – pink, blue, green, yellow, purple – a kaleidoscope you could say, much like their array of sounds. In case you haven't noticed yet, since about a month ago, their 2discs are available for download FREE OF CHARGE.

In the short time that has passed since the band’s debut, these gems have received praise and admiration from music lovers and critics all over the world - the last review came out just yesterday from the Spanish blog "Discos Pensados", right on the trail of three other fresh reviews (in English, German and Italian).  With such excitement over Ummagma, there's practically no need to argue why you MUST have these beautiful songs in your own music collection.

Do yourself a favor and download them while "Antigravity" and "Ummagma" are still downloadable for free, as the band has indicated that they will likely only be offering these for free for a limited time and that this may change all of a sudden "depending on their mood". So guys and gals, please be smart and get a move on to reach Cloud 9 with this McLarnon/Kretov couple – the 2 gifts they have given us this year will make your 2012 a memorable one. An occasion like this only happens once in a lifetime!!!

Ummagma press excerpts:

A refined and multifaceted musical junket follows with a host of delightfully upbeat songs, and not one seems misplaced or expendable throughout. With a rich use of instruments at the capable hands of Kretov, the album maintains a sense of fluency and rhythm, even as each song has its own distinct character and individuality…  Kretov and McLarnon have shown how well they can blend different genres and create something exceptional independently”. ~ Sound of Confusion http://thesoundofconfusionblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/ummagma-ummagmaantigravity.html 

“The closest that I can come to describing their sound is to compare Peter Gabriel's album Up, hints of James Blake, and the entire decade of '90s music. There are just way too many genres and influences heard within Ummagma's music to give a completely accurate description… Both Antigravity and Ummagma are extremely spectacular works. Each album transports you into a realm of relaxation and broad soundscapes… Ummagma is on an entirely different level. This is art.” 
~ The Record Stache

“Ummagma's music has a lot of different influences including shoegaze, dream pop, indie rock and prog rock. The band are compared to an array of different bands including The Cocteau Twins, Blonde Redhead, Talk Talk, Lush and the Bowery Electric. After listening to the two albums, comparisons to AsobiSeksu (Lama), Peter Gabriel (BFD) and Exitmusic (Beautiful Moment) would not be unwarranted…
I was initially skeptical of all of the different musical styles on the albums, but came around after hearing how good the song-writing and production is. The songs musical styles run from highly texturized, to euphoric, ethereal, dreamlike and ambient to rhythmic and beat driven… I am not saying Ummagma's albums are classics, but they are very good.”     ~ Aural Report  

“… music that covers a wide range of music from atmospheric ethereal wave and heavenly dream pop right through to guitar-based indie rock within their two debut albums. The duo writes uniquely beautiful music somewhere on the border between the so-called "golden age" for the 4AD label (soothing ethereal, soundscapes with a direct association with Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins) and the canonical guitar characteristic of indie rock; all of this with elements of shoegaze, post-punk, and even progressive rock, as strange as that combination might otherwise sound. In general, all of the more recognized representatives of the vanguard (such as Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Blonde Redhead and the amazing group Mercury Rev) have found their own distinct reflection in the work of this group Ummagma, which is obviously atypical even for our indie music scene.”  ~ TOP-10(original in Russian)

“In many ways Ummagma's work recalls the adventurous and unified approach of much of the 4AD labels' late eighties/early nineties output... Multi-instrumentalist Alexx Kretov skillfully, and with apparent ease, creates lush and evocative soundscapes for their songs to inhabit… There's a major hint of nineties underground music here - plenty of shoegaze, a little trip hop and a lot of ambient electronica, but this barely scratches the surface of what's going on.”
~ The Active Listener

"Ummagma’sAntigravity puts you into that space between real life and your daydreams. It’s full of new wave magic that’s enough to absorb any ounce of “bad day” that was thrust upon you. Antigravity doesn’t overwhelm your senses; it soothes them and sets your mind at ease. You’re put into a very good place after having a listen, almost like a form of therapy. It’s no secret that we could all use a bit of that." ~ Dingus on Music

"After the first listen, one is shocked by the wide musical range presented here. This is not one of those cases when a group adheres to a single style and, by the middle of the album, the group's distinctive sound can be clearly distinguished. This is the result of an eight-year experiment with sound, which is geared towards the works of a range of artists including Cocteau Twins, SigurRos and James Blake… It's interesting to not only listen to Ummagma's music but to actually explore it."
~ Fufuturism(original in Ukrainian)

“Ummagma is one of these gems…  designed in innocence, dreams, a psychedelic folk climate, and a shoegazer dream that boils down to sublime relaxing and soothing music, with synths and loops that combine with guitars in crystalline cascades to create the perfect atmosphere for dreaming.  The latest interview has the fortune of being accompanied by a soundtrack of angels, Ummagma.Shauna’s vocals provide a beautiful overlay to everything…  the fortune of being accompanied by a soundtrack of angels, Ummagma.”
~ The Blog That Celebrates Itself(original in Portuguese)

“Indeed, there comes a moment that is somewhat difficult to describe their sound, as the combination of styles within the band’s two full-length debut albums is very wide. There is a bit of post-punk, ambient, and even folk textures in songs like "Lama" and "Kiev" from the "Antigravity" album, but also, what are perhaps sound aesthetics like Mazzy Star and Slowdive will generate a feeling that, upon entering Ummagma’s world, the listener really finds something very special and also very candid.” ~ My Blog Cliché (original in Spanish)

“The debut album “Antigravity” is a mixed-emotion experience of beautiful melancholy and uplifting euphoria all found in one album, virtually taking the listener on a journey via the band’s musical interludes. This album will appeal to fans of modern bands like Blonde Redhead and AsobiSeksu, as well as older 80s bands of the 4AD epoch (especially Cocteau Twins) and Talk Talk, with a little Sputniks Down, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno and Slowdive wedged in there too. Ummagma has essentially achieved an incredible feat of bringing together some otherwise seemingly non-combinable musical genres (post-rock/dreampop/folk rock/progressive rock/shoegaze) all within on album and they have done so rather handsomely.” ~ Only The Finest Music

“This combination makes for a sound that contains a feel of distant horizons, rooted in an historical perspective. The output, though equally as broad spread, has a dreamy willowy quality to it, to which the listener can settle back and feel the worries of the day drift out of the mind.Ethereal wisps of smoke drift past the ears passing in a haze and the head is set free on a journey of hypnosis. The duo use a mix of electronic and instrumentation to deliver their output and they have poised the balance finely, as they do with the duality of vocal which creates a further dimension to the ambient textures.”   ~ Indie Bands Blog

“… Ummagma such a potent musical cocktail. Not only do they represent a delightful and broad mish-mash of genres – dream pop, ethereal, post-rock, post-punk, progressive rock, shoegaze and ambient – but they can sometimes even mix different genres right within a song. The effect is impressive – this duo has effectively generated what can be considered a unique dreamy dynamic and eclectic sound… The listener can get aurally lost in these journeys – with Alexx’s dreamy voice and impressive instrumental skill, and with Shauna’s intoxicating vocals, together they create diverse rich atmospheres set against luscious dream pop soundscapes and textures.” ~ Musica Media

“… either one or the other album can (and usually do) frame what at first seems to be a universe of hazy dream pop, but then a thorough hearing reveals much, much more… On Ummagma’s official Facebook page, they cite 'bands we like' as including The Smiths, Boards of Canada, Cocteau Twins and Radiohead, and this broad palette is apparent in the colorful offerings presented in their two discs… the album “Ummagma” is more upbeat, warm, and physical - and I personally see much in common with Yo La Tengo but less noisy, while “Antigravity” is more melancholic, cold and dreamy... the pulsations in the form of beats are sometimes understated, sometimes exposed with (unhinged) distortions and fluctuations that are synthetically layered with Shauna’s sweet vocals and Alexx’s introspective.
~ PequenosClassicosPerdidos

“These albums offer the world two distinct works of sublime beauty and quality. While the self-titled album "Ummagma" and "Antigravity" are separate albums, they effectively fit together cyclically to form a whole, transitioning between dreamy drifting songs and melancholic melodies to those that are invigoratingly pulse-driven, bringing the soul through intense and warm soundscapes. This double set of debut albums are well dosed between several music genres: electronica, ethereal, ambient, post-punk, new wave, dream pop and shoegaze, where the senses and emotions blossom freely between the notes of each and every one of these songs.”
~ Ride Into the Sound (original in Portuguese)

“Amazing things happen not only in fantasy novels and tales by the Brothers Grimm, but also in the reality in which we live… The end product [of Ummagma] is, at the same time, both energetic and meditative music, characterized by strong ethnic influences and shaped by the experience of northern European music from the past thirty years, from Peter Gabriel to SigurRos. But here we are talking about actual experience, not about copycatting or borrowing of any kind.”      
~ F5 magazine(original in Russian)

“Their sound can be framed as what we call "dream pop", but the duo’s releases extend this range in ways that make their sounds comparable to Cocteau Twins, Blonde Redhead, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, AIR, SigurRos, Stereolab, Michael Brook, Lush, Mercury Rev, Talk Talk, Snow Patrol, Ultravox and Bowery Electric.In July 2012, the duo did something rather innovative – they released the band's first two albums at the same time. Two full-length albums. These are not EPs, not singles, but two fully-loaded disks. And they are polished.”    ~ Floga-Se 

“Love gives form to more love. That's the way it works and listening to the album "Ummagma", clearly this seems to reach the individual unsuspecting listener, who has no idea that he will be immersed in this realm of beauty and stunning diversity… Two things are quite impressive: when they sing in unison, and they show the mastery in performing songs in such a wide range of styles – somewhat like a woman who looks great in whatever she wears.This album is highly recommended to lovers of the following musical genres: indie rock, post-rock, post-punk, dream pop, power pop, ambient, ethereal, shoegaze (newgaze), progressive rock and even folk rock.” ~ Music Wizard

“Back in July, Ummagma pulled a bold maneuver and decided to release not one, but two, albums as their introduction to the music world. Fortunately, they've been getting quite a bit of good press, and the albums have been picking up some steam. I sat down and listened to both albums back to back before I wrote my original feature, and the payoff was an extremely rewarding listen.”~ The Record Stache

“With years of working together, this duo has evolved in musical terms, so that, at this stage, they have come to produce an expressive mix of essential and ambient songs inspired by Shauna’s beautiful vocals.This finally brings us to Ummagma’s two albums. Each of them is special and certainly resents a strong beginning of a phrase highlighted by their lyrics and the remarkable and descriptive music they create. Their music has touched on not one or two, but many many more musical genres so that their first two albums effectively have something to offer everyone.”
~ Terapija.net 

“For those who have not yet encountered Ummagma’s music, their first two albums brought the world an epic soundscape mixture of dreampop, progressive rock, post-rock, post-punk, ethereal/ambient, and indie rock rarely seen since the early 4AD era. This latest release represents a welcome addition to the band’s repertoire as it takes them beyond their already-wide range of musical genres into what appears to be new and welcoming territory.” ~ Musica Media

"While the former work shows a more upbeat and sunny facet of Ummagma, the latter reveals a hazier aura…[they] go wider and incorporate a rich cosmos of musical influences, ranging from Acoustic Folk to Electronics (yeah, they live in pure harmony there) with a strong Dream Pop/Shoegaze-esque signature in a very natural way, as if it's just natural for them to gravitate (sic) in such spheres. Wherever they point their guitars and effects, if they decide to turn off the sonic lights or not, doesn't matter; the results are always great and can easily bring the listener to stellar dimensions." ~ Lovers Who Are Seekers 

"Antigravity" offers a full bouquet of diversity, similar to that which we see in the self-titled album "Ummagma"... There seems to be quite a bit more melancholy and inward reflection in the second album, while the first album seems to have a higher level of notable 'drive'. Both are wonderful and mysterious because there is so much to discover here and that discovery continues to take place with each repeated listen.” ~ Music Wizard

“In an era where fear seems to be the main instinctive driver for many musicians, this duo seems to stay far from such territory and these releases certainly are powerful enough to reach audiences around the world because these songs are timeless.” ~ CanibalVegetariano

“Ummagma’s music entails a layered combination of influences from dream pop, jazz and progressive rock with what appears to be North European music metaphors, with their sounds largely like a rich fusion of SigurRos, Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, Blonde Redhead and Peter Gabriel. It is dreamy, lovely and positively energetic, with all of their songs pleasantly differing from each other. Most importantly, Ummagma’s music is rather unique and doesn’t quite sound like anything else that we’ve heard before. Highly recommended for listening…[they] have nevertheless managed to make some pretty amazing music.”
~ Journal “apopülerdergi’ (original in Turkish)

“Ummagma is a group comprised of Alexx Kretov, who is Ukrainian, and Shauna McLarnon, who is Canadian. Together they have managed to create music that covers the current indie spectrum from its various tangents: folk, post-rock, dream pop and still others, offering listeners an elusive ambient aspect, which is subtle and light, while drumming up imagery of dreamy places graced with highly cinematic touches.” ~ Cassette Blog (original in Spanish)

“In a short window of time, not only have they given us 24 wonderful audio tracks, but also 5 video clips, every one of which is worthy of attention… The product [of the video clip for the song “Upsurd”] is an exquisite juxtaposition of gorgeous uplifting male and female vocals with magnificent music against the backdrop of a mirror-like video of what is wrong with our society… It seems that the pair have revealed yet another of their talents.” ~ Musica Media

Ummagma’s music encompasses several genres of music – post-rock, post-punk, dream pop, nugaze, ambient/ethereal, and progressive rock Similar artists/ sounds like: Cocteau Twins, SigurRos, Blonde Redhead, AsobiSeksu, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, AIR, Stereolab, Michael Brook, Robert Fripp, Richard Barbieri, Lush, Exit Music, Mercury Rev, Talk Talk, Snow Patrol, Ultravox, Spiritualized, James Blake, Violet Indiana and Bowery Electric. ~ Capas de Culto

Ummagma is an extremely captivating band filled with brilliant music paths of emotions… They remind me of the brilliant early ambient music years of 4AD Records artists… I see a tremendous drive and vision in Ummagma… I can’t see anything, but superb music roads ahead by this brilliant duo.”
~ FORKSTER "Rocks It Out" (originally posted July 27, 2012 & every week after)
http://tinyurl.com/caarlp8 (original posted on www.facebook.com/FORKSTER)

While the music on Ummagma’s first two albums presents a mix of dreampop, progressive rock, post-rock, post-punk, ethereal/ambient, and indie rock, this latest release continues to demonstrate the flexibility of their sound. 
~ Canibal Vegetariano

Other press coverage (interviews/charts/etc.):

What I Learned at Bandcamp: Ummagma(detailed interview)
~ The Spec Blog  

Victorialand with Ummagma - An Interview(detailed interview)
~ The Blog That Celebrates Itself

Band of the Week 9th to 15th September 2012(Ummagma is at #2)
~ Indie Bands Blog

TOP-10: September 2012 (Ummagma is at #2 throughout August& Sept)

Ummagma – Antigravity
~ Eden is Neon

“Ummagma has come up with a wildly inventive reach for all corners of the indie world. Post Rock, Dream Pop, Indie, Jazz and more are stirred into a masterfully polished moment of beauty.”
~Charlie Nieland, Her Vanished Grace (USA)

30 Bands/Musicians Better Than Oasis
~ The Fire Station

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