It’s often said that you know what you’re getting with Ultimae. France’s premier ambient and chill label has maintained a rock-steady quality barometer and they remain one of the only labels to still put a lot of effort into their production and presentation: as usual, the digipack folds out like some wonderful cloudy dream, and the accompanying booklet again shows off Vince’s cracking photography skills.
This sort of means that you’re going to be delighted with your purchase before you even press play, and what’s more wonderful still is that as the music develops, so does your relationship with it.
Asura flirts with the ethnic and the deep space. Back To Light is an awesome, slomo 4-4 piece that has more in common with Holst than Shpongle, yet embraces a certain sense of awe and natural wonder. The double-track suite Galaxies takes this idea further – the sounds accompany some sort of internal display of interplanetary alignment.
While Life2 is expansive and vast, it is also intimate. The tender, ticklish lines on Celestial Tendencies contrast with the watery and cinematic The Prophecy. There are also more energetic moments, like a sort of oldskool goa with the pitch at minus ten. Of these, Butterly FX is head and shoulders above the noisy, slomo-Space-Cat acidity of the title track.
It all comes together perfectly on closing track Le Chanson De Carla, where beats whip up a fascinating concoction of ethnic and interstellar, all packaged up in the sort of glazed, teary, life-as-we-know-it vibe of everything wrong in the world simultaneously being put right.
Asura is perfect listening for reading up on the elegance of submolecular physics, should that be your cup of tea. The rest of us can exhale while it works its wonders at smoothing out the metaphyisical knots that modern life gives us. Recommended.