The Splits with Finland’s Virta
May 31, 2013

A lot has been happening with Ummagma since we ‘checked in’ with Echoes and Dust last time and, but I suppose one of the more significant developments worth mentioning is that, at the end of May, we released a split EP with a band from Finland called Virta. They make some pretty wicked fusion jazz-laced post-rock and you don’t see that every day. People are fortunate enough to hear something this good even once, so I suggest they definitely check these Northerners out. Reviews to date have pegged them as a cocktail of Tortoise, Miles Davis, King Crimson and Sigur Ros – imagine that (better yet, go listen instead).

The Ummagma/Virta Split EP was released through Italy’s Som Non-LabelThere are 2 songs from each band there. As for us, these 2 contributions are a departure from our dreampop/shoegaze/indie/postrock element, introducing listeners to our folk rock and jazzy sides. But the ethereal and spacey factors remain strong throughout.

From where we sit, we were pretty fortunate to be paired up on this release with such an incredibly talented trio. Not only had I not heard of them before this occasion (sure glad this opportunity landed on our lap), but also it dawned on me that this is what typically happens to great talent from ‘distant’ places. And this is what nearly happened to us, I suppose, by virtue of being located in Ukraine.

This happens because bands are generally so focused on making music (that’s how it should be, don’t you think?) and have limited time for anything other than this and their full-time job (after all, barely anybody is making a living off their music now – it’s mainly a supplementary activity in money-making terms for those bands that are doing better than just breaking even or are even in the red for their love of music). Unless you are seriously plugged into the net and constantly networking or unless you have the budget to hire a PR person who will do exactly that on your behalf, being situated in a ‘distant’ country often means you stay local.

Basically, you are on par with every other band in your country in that the audience you are hoping to find will usually also be very localised.  This happens even more so for bands singing in ‘local’ languages (other than English, Spanish or French, for instance). You don’t find many people in Japan, the UK or Argentina listening to music sung in Russian or Chinese, let alone less widely spoken languages.

In Virta’s case, they’ve followed the path of their Northern brothers Sigur Ros, so language is not a barrier. In Ummagma’s case, everything is in English – after all, Shauna is Canadian, making our music largely accessible. Judging from the number of reviews in multiple countries coming in for this Split EP, I’d say our music is reaching new audiences far and wide, and that this release has made it possible to bring more music from a ‘distant’ corner to your own MP3 players and computers.

Well, that was quite the rant, so we shall sign off until the next update. Offered for the price of a gulp of fresh air (breathe in), you can download our latest release here. And if you’re interested in keeping up with Ummagma more frequently than our updates here on Echoes and Dust, we encourage you to drop in to visit (or even camp out on) our website or on Facebook.


Releases 2012