VA – Oxycanta (Ultimae)

Posted in Reviews 2006 by - August 17, 2006




Ultimae’s sound has been quietly evolving over the years, and Oxycanta represents something of a stylistic zenith. With their roots in psychedelic backrooms, Ultimae have moved more and more in the direction of “proper” ambient – droning, subtle music that sits well in the moist background of a stoned evening, but would also provide a pretty nice soundtrack to being in post-death limbo, awaiting reincarnation as though it’s an international ferry departure (or something.) Which is a roundabout way of saying that Oxycanta reflects desolate beauty; you’ll find no monks chanting, no prayer cymbals, no Moroccan throat singing and, in fact, barely a discernable drum beat. Entheogenic it ain’t.

There are edits and remixes from Solar Fields, Aes Dana and Subgardens, and refreshingly new ideas coming in from Cell and Asura. It’s a heavy listening experience, with sounds and ideas rise and then fade, and little to ground you. You get lost in the soundscape with Cell’s Floating Relaxation and Asura’s Galaxies being the major space-culprits. By the time we reach the final two tracks – Subgardens’ Listen To The Flowers Grow and Omnimotion’s glorious Magic Tree – the vibe is firmly up in the air, like fragments of a forgotten dream.

It’s an unusual album, and not one we would solidly recommend to lovers of chilled psy; but for those who like to think about the ambient that’s playing in the background, you can’t get much more intriguing and loveable as this.

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