Ummagma : LCD22.09.2017 : Label Obscura (Canada) / Somewherecold Records (US) / Bandcamp
Ummagma are an experimental duo, bringing together the vocals of Shauna McLarnon (who is from the wilds of the Yukon) and Alexander Kretov, an accomplished musician from small town Ukraine. Their new EP follows on from Winter Tale, a maxi-single made with 4AD pioneer, A. R. Kane.
Ummagma's music has always had a sense of space and left-field enchantment, on this EP it has been stunningly re-imagined by others. The first track of the set, LCD, is gateway reverie to the rest; it showcases the entrancing mix of dreampop and electronica of Ummagma straight, as they themselves have already produced it; the three remixes that follow offer the real trance.
One remix comes from Robin Guthrie, the Cocteau Twin multi-instrumentalist, the other two from Dean Garcia, who is mostly renowned as half of seminal British indie/alt-rock band Curve.
Garcia has taken the EP's opening track, LCD, and re-arranged it into something mesmeric with a muted beat - he has said that "It was a matter of going into the original ... extracting the most trippy and spacey elements, and expanding them into a different zone." He has achieved his intent, finding a tangential, ethereal mood from fragments of the song he started with.
Robin Guthrie has taken another tack with Lama (from Ummagma's debut album, Antigravity) - artfully refashioning it with new drifts of guitar to wrap the dreamlike vocal in an enveloping, panoramic soundscape.
Dean Garcia's further handiwork closes the set, a reworking of Back to You, again from Antigravity. The original has an acoustic shimmer - the remix has brilliantly found its dark heart and given it a slow motion, percussive shot of grandeur over six and a half minutes. The ornate guitar of the album version has been displaced by the hypnotic beat; creating a late-night majestic mutation.
The LCD EP is a graceful ambient spell; four songs that together offer a lulling, rhythmic soundtrack for dreaming.