Another welcome release from Ultimae Records in France helps me bring this week to a close. Scroll Side from Hybrid Leisureland represents what Ultimae do best which is deliver quality downtempo electronica. This time round expect sparse almost playful melodies set amidst melancholy eerie backdrops and the sparing use of patterned drum work throughout.
Its evocative stuff ‘Traditional Drugs’ is a beautiful standout moment and if you had to sum up a visual to accompany the piece it would be akin to walking around a deserted fairground at night. The eerie pin pricks of percussive sound almost representative of raindrops on dilapidated carnival rides. Initially eerie but in the end strangely sad.
The album moves forward with strands of continuity, ‘Gentleness Color’ holds on to the chimes that were introduced in the preceding track. However there’s a gentle strengthening of percussion as ‘Imagination of Imagination’ takes on a slow burning almost tribal mantra of a beat. Another highlight is ‘Breeze Is Nice’ which consists purely of interwoven piano melodies. It serves to emphasize that perhaps this shouldn’t just be considered an electronica album, the melodic phrasing that passes throughout often distracts from the instrumentation that has been employed to create the tracks themselves.
There are interesting eastern influences creeping into the album in its latter stages the prime example of this being ‘Breathing Smoke’ with its distant percussive bell sounds set amidst an ambient wash which elicits memories of some of Eno’s earlier work.
As always with releases from this label the production values are high and those familiar with the back catalogue of Ultimae will already know this. However it has to be said in this instance there is a very slight edge to the release, if anything a slight rawness to the sound which does mark a subtle difference. Certain sounds pushed my speakers a little further than I expected but this is no bad thing and if you’re new to their releases you probably won’t even notice.
In conclusion this is another fine release for the label.