Today, Ummagma are allowing us to share their entire third album ‘Compass‘, which comes out this week via Manchester-based label Leonard Skully Records.
This is Ummagma’s first album in seven years and also the first time the band is releasing a record on vinyl, listen to the whole album below.
Their recent single ‘High Day’ is sewn with gorgeously drawn instrumentation, bathed in swathes of strings and a suite of woodwind instruments, pierced by Shauna McLarnon’s celestial melodies and effortlessly wistful tone a snapshot of their relationship. Elsewhere lead single ‘Caravan’ shimmers with a palette of spiralling guitars and entwined male/female vocals. On ‘Ty i Ya’ which Alexander Kretov performs in his native Ukrainian language. This is the first time the band has released music in a language other than English, stepping beyond the confines of past songwriting limits. ‘LCD’ from their previous EP rustles with twisting licks, rolling percussion and haunting textures. ‘Otherwise’ subtle instrumentals, almost dubby rhythm, eastern guitars and otherworldly sound has shades of Pete Gabriel.
They say Compass is a record of “familiarity and exploration, of emotion and euphoria, of sky-scraping cinematic highs and intimate and intriguing lows. This is the sound of a band allowing themselves to jump creative divides, to kick down musical barriers, and rip up the rule book or perhaps just ignore the fact that there ever was one in the first place.
Every shimmering dreamscape found here is balanced with more robust and driven grooves, sometimes even within the same song.”
Compass is a step forward for Ummagma, previously known for their dream pop sounds they have crafted a subtle intricate palette of sounds that may rustle with echoes of Vangelis, Cocteau Twins, The Sundays and others, but transcends these influences to forge a fresh celestial tapestry and an emotional depth that you want to dive into.
“Formed in Moscow in 2003, Ummagma is Shauna McLarnon, hailing from the Yukon Territory in northern Canada, and Alexander Kretov, who is originally from western Ukraine. Now based in Ontario, the couple completed this album over five years and multiple moves, ultimately hauling their studio with them across the Atlantic and setting up all over again. With such transience in the real world, how could their sonic world reflect anything other than the same fluidity and movement?
Comprised of 12 tracks with a bonus track (‘Bouquet’) offered for the digital version, ‘Compass’ is beguiling in its post-genre nature.
This record follows on the trail of their ‘LCD’ EP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Dean Garcia (Curve), and ‘Winter Tale’ EP with 4AD dreampop pioneer A.R.Kane. Both of these were released in 2017 to critical acclaim.
They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company that they keep, and the same holds true for a band. Ummagma’s collaborations speak volumes. Apart from these three dreampop-shoegaze icons, they’ve worked with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark‘s Malcolm Holmes, Swervedriver‘s Graham Bonnar, and nudisco kingpin Alexander Robotnick. They’ve also collaborated with Beauty in Chaos, a project that involves members of The Cure, The Mission, Ministry, The Offspring, Bauhaus, A Flock of Seagulls, Cheap Trick, Ice-T and Van Halen, among others.”
‘Compass’ LP order (all formats) http://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/compass
UK vinyl orders http://11stsq.com/product/compass-lp-pre-order