UKRAINIAN-CANADIAN GROUP UMMAGMA: SURPRISINGLY CLOSE
AUTHOR// Vladimir Sivash
Really very close. In Ternopil. This is where Ukrainian-Canadian project Ummagma is currently based. It seems that we missed them last year, when the group almost simultaneously released their two debut albums, so we will now introduce them to you.
Ummagma is Shauna McLarnon from northern Canada and Alexander Kretov from western Ukraine. The band’s name in some ways echoes the guise of Pink Floyd’s famous double album 'Ummagumma'. I’m not sure if this is where the name originated, but given the fact that the band members named Pink Floyd among their favorite artists, this remains a possibility, although Shauna and Alexander’s “cosmic” music is not very similar to Ummagumma. This couple, who met quite a long time ago in Moscow (they are not only a creative duo, but have also been a family tandem for years), produces a sound that stylistically interweaves between dream-pop, shoegaze and post-rock. There is also a little space and progressive rock, noise-pop, ambient and even intelligent wave-based post-punk in the style of David Sylvian.
Indeed Ummagma, judging according to genres, is rather eclectic, but the focus remains steady thanks to specific similar features found in their music – a "floating", multi-textured, atmospheric, and esoteric flair. And, of course, you could say that dream-pop is the mainly vector determining their sound. While I suppose that Shauna (songwriting, lyrics, vocals) and Alexander (responsible for the technical and instrumental side of things, arrangements, production) might be tired of such comparisons, it would be impossible for their music not to invoke imagery of Slowdive (mainly the ethereal quality) not to come to mind and the progressive string of bands typical of the "early era" of 4AD Records.
Finally in 2012, the group decided to release their completed works on Bandcamp, simultaneously issuing two albums – the self-titled “Ummagma” (this one is quite a bit more eclectic) and “Antigravity”. And off we go. The group’s tracks are currently in rotation on independent radio stations in thirty(!) countries, including, for example, England and Ireland. And moreover, even Bilinda Butcher herself from the god-like My Bloody Valentine (founders of the shoegaze genre) shared Ummagma’s music on her own personal Facebook page.
At the moment, the duo is considering the release of an EP comprised of remixes of their own compositions, as these are gradually accumulating. But in the meantime, we share with you some of the recent (ranging from one month to eight months old) video clips from Ummagma.
You can find the original article (in Russian) here: http://ego.com.ua/home/culture/music/1307-ukraino-kanadskaya-gruppa-ummagma-udivitelnoe-ryadom
Original publication date: March 6, 2013