Sunday 26 May 2013

Ummagma/Virta - Split EP

EP review by

As regular readers will know, we've focused quite heavily on the music scenes of Eastern Europe lately, and this split EP featuring Finnish post-rock/experimental/jazz trio Virta and Ukraine-based dreampoppers Ummagma only serves to reinforce the diversity of sounds being created in that vast region. Beginning with Virta's two tracks, the EP gets off to a mellow and unusual start. 'Tales From The Deep Waters' is a about as understated as post-rock can get, but that's only half the story. This sound may be there as the base for the song, the foundations if you like, but it's the brass that takes the lead, giving us a gentle, jazzy soundscape. It may seem off-putting to fans of more conventional rock/pop, but if that's the case then 'Traffic' may be a preferable introduction to the band, taking a similar sound but adding proggy innovation and unorthodox structures and compositions. They're a unique band, without question.

Ummagma are a duo we know much better, having reviewed several of their previous releases. It would seem odd that their misty-eyed dreampop would provide the perfect foil for the unorthodox experiments of Virta, but it works just fine. The reason for this is simple: Ummagma are an adaptable band and have covered different sounds and styles in the past, so here they keep things suitably low-key on the steady, twanging 'Back To You' which also incorporates brass, making the match that little bit smoother. They too embrace jazz and fusion sounds on 'River Town', a song that contains the regular dreampop we're used to them making, but presents it in a different style; it's almost lounge music. This split EP is by two bands who are, on paper at least, very different, but thanks to the adaptability of music and the creative minds behind it, this odd couple make a perfectly seamless match.

Virta's website

Ummagma's website

Stream or download the EP

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  1. What a brilliant release! :) These are two great bands… Suggestion: also look to Poland… Peace, Marika

  2. Hi Marika,

    We've featured a few Polish bands in the past, but should be preparing a playlist of new Polish bands to go on the site in the next couple of months so keep a look out for that!