Another touching release from the ambient underground.
Ultrafog - How Those Fires Burned That Are No Longer
Japan's Ultrafog is a key player in the new ambient underground, a scene that mostly exists on the internet. Artists like m do, Exael and uon live in various European, American and Japanese cities but tend to put out music on the same labels, such as Angoisse, Huerco S's West Mineral Ltd. and LA's Motion Ward. The scene has yielded some excellent music (uon's two 12-inches, the compilation bblisss) and the community feels innovative and self-perpetuating, a rarity in 2018. Though all these acts have working knowledge of ambient forefathers like Pete Namlook and Dettinger, this new wave often makes music that doesn't feel beholden to the past. At its best, it's the work of headphone-dwellers on their own trip, chasing after the intimate, revelatory feeling the best ambient pieces can bring on.
Some of these pieces, like the Apollo-style "Golden Tundra" or the pensive, loopy drone of "OIO," float by almost imperceptibly, as though the listener is lying supine in a boat gently rocked by the water passing underneath. Elsewhere, Ultrafog builds on the work of his contemporaries. "Swallow" recalls the cinematic haze of Russian Mind-era Oneohtrix Point Never, while "Cependant" daubs evocative wind and far-off synth trails onto a melancholic melody that could have appeared on Huerco S's For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have). Ultrafog's own personality is still emerging, but his affinity with different ambient styles makes him an intriguing new presence within a vibrant scene.
Thu / 1
A3 Golden Tundra