Who says that you shouldn’t meet your heroes? Ummagma did and the result is a stunning remix that also acts as the lead single for their forthcoming ‘LCD’ EP. After Robin Guthrie heard their track ‘Lama’, which originally appeared on the band’s debut album ‘Antigravity’, mutual friends put the band and the Cocteau Twins multi-instrumentalist in touch. The result is this wonderful new version of the song, which sees him not only re-arrange and re-mix the song but also add his own guitar parts into the mix.
Ummagma is a band whose unlikely back story matches and perfectly explains their mercurial music. Shauna McLarnon, a vocalist from the Yukon wilderness and Alexander Kretov, a multi-instrumentalist from small town Ukraine, met in the suburban sprawl of Moscow after pursuing many solo adventures and exploring unusual pathways. Bonding over their shared musical interests and fascinated by each other’s divergent musical backgrounds, Ummagma began as an affair with love and sound, their relationship soon developing into both a musical and factual marriage. In 2013, Ummagma won the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio, representing Ukraine among 23 countries.
‘Lama’ exists in an alternate dimension of ambient drifts and sonic textures that wash over you in gentle waves and then recede back into a sonorous, twilight world of fading vapour trails of sound and vocals, seemingly found between reality and possibility. This is a sound that Guthrie and his fellow Cocteau Twins helped to pioneer and evolve throughout the 80’s – a sound that still informs much of his work, though here, his trademark feedback drenched guitar sound is used more to shimmer rather than shatter, to chime rather than slash.
Ummagma ‘LCD’ involves not only one, but two legendary musicians, the other being maverick electronic musician Dean Garcia of Curve and SPC ECO fame. Earlier this year, Ummagma co-released the ‘Winter Tale’ maxi-single with yet another 4AD dream pop pioneer – A.R.Kane.
“I grew up listening to Cocteau Twins, Curve, and so many bands from the 4AD and Creation labels, and then later introduced them to my husband. He learned of them late, having been born in the USSR. We feel incredibly honoured that Robin Guthrie and Dean Garcia have shaped several of our tracks as they personally envision them,” says Shauna McLarnon.
As a calling card for the four-track EP to follow, ‘Lama’ is a perfect sonic snapshot, capturing the band’s core sound, their ambient heart, and the often smoke-like musical sculptures they create. Dream pop, it would seem, is deliciously back on the menu.
Ummagma ‘LCD’ will be released on September 22 via Label Obscura (cassette) and Somewherecold Records (CD), and is already available for pre-order on the duo’s own Bandcamp.