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Monday, June 25, 2012

UMA Meeting Unknown

Meeting Unknown
UMA Music
Now augmented by Andi Pupato, best known for his work as percussionist in Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Estonian outfit UMA curate another exquisite series of lushly evocative portraits in sound on their third album. There’s a yearning spirit moving within each of the six pieces presented here. Guitarist Robert J├╝rjendal’s delicate but assertive chords and sustained lines prove to be the perfect foil for Aleksei Saks’ ephemeral, misty trumpet. Mixed with Pupato’s gently percolating percussive counterpoints, though their work might be described as ambient, they maintain a tight grip on the movement, detail and dialogue throughout.

The nebulous sonics of Lenten Month recalls the shimmering haze encountered during Eno’s Thursday Afternoon distantly mingled with twinkling Cocteau Twins-like arpeggios. There’s an effortless beauty to be found on the mellifluous Framed Memories, in which Saks’ powerful corno da caccia (a kind of hunting horn) emerges from glistening layers of fluttering harmonics.

Though sometimes austere and formidable, their work remains paradoxically accessible.
This happy state of affairs is blessed with two outstanding guest contributions. Classically trained Estonian mezzo-soprano Iris Oja adds soaring vocals to the elegant sweep of Thirst For Light, while Markus Reuter’s touch guitar brings some of his trademark extra texture to the 10 minute-plus title track.

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