There’s chill out and then there’s Ultimae. very much a specialist label in handling all things downtempo and that theme is continued here. A collection of tracks courtesy of Circular entitled ‘Substans’. Expect sombre glacial melodies with a hint of threat to them interspersed with the odd element of found sound. Musically this is a little stronger than some of the label’s recent releases (the high water mark remains James Murray ‘When Edges Meet’).
There’s an air of melancholy to the tracks on offer here (Hurumburum being one such example) and some of the uses of sound are very organic and as a consequence serve as a pleasing opposition to the somewhat cool approach of the acres of multiple synthesizers at work (have a listen to ‘Bathing Is a Ritual’ to see what I mean).
Many albums of this nature can often suffer with rather extravagant track lengths but I am pleased to say with this collection all concerned know just when to let a track end, the sense of timing is one of the album’s great successes.
As always with Ultimae releases the production values are of very high standard and while the material they offer isn’t always to everyone’s tastes this album does serve as a suitable access point to the label’s offerings.