Hailing from Sweden, Black Umbra (who I only know as Kim) and his recent self-titled three-song EP Black Umbra contains thematic, ambient soundscapes that sound otherworldly and dark. It sounds a bit like Boards of Canada minus the percussion. It isn’t reinventing the wheel of the genre but thought the compositions were well written and fluid.
The first song “AtaraxXx” starts off sounding like primordial ooze, which is a combination of reverb-laced clean guitars and drones. It fluctuates back and forth before slowly becoming thicker with substance. The transitions are seamless and subtle as they should be. It’s kind of like watching someone age. There were fills of percussion that I thought would turn into a full on beat but it never happened and I also didn’t have any problem with that. “AtaraxXx” showcases some skill as well as some restraint, which I think is integral in creating this type of music.
“The intermediate state” has more of a groove than the first track if only for the steady distorted bass synth. Kim colors the song with multiple pads. A mysterious veil of smoke resides over the song that almost feels like an ominous tranquility. The most experimental track is “Plunge into the depths of melancholy.” It opens with a grating white noise that eventually mutates into repetitive a synth line and whispered vocals. The song reminded of Pharmakon at points but not quite as cathartic and visceral.
Black Umbra seems like he is just getting his beak wet. There are other artists within this genre who have torn apart wormholes and are able to immerse you with atmosphere. That being said he may be onto something if he can implement some more production tricks and establish a signature sound.
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