CD-R (ltd. 250)
ÜL was formed in 2006 by Argentinians Alan Courtis (Reynols), Fernando Perales and Charly Zaragoza. They have performed live many times in Argentina and released two albums: "Astropecuario" on the Scottish label Pjorn Records and "II" on the Argentinian Facon Records. This is their third disk containing material recorded in 2007. The goal of ÜL is the exploration of timbric possibilities of electric guitars in their own way, combining elements of noise, drone music and free atonal improvisation. Their compositions immerse the listener into an abstract world of electromagnetic interaction between acoustic and electronic medium. A world glutted with raw sounds of string vibrations, droney feedback resonances, acute work of limiting amplifiers and layering echoes of effects.
Formed in 2006 with members of Reynols, Minexio VII and Virgen Vapor, UL started to work on their sound based on guitar sound manipulations. If you have in mind the Glenn Branca's experiments of guitar orchestra, well, try to imagine something totally different because UL use guitars to create disturbing multi layered industrial ambient suites based on drones and guitar noises. Listening to III the impression I had is that the eight tracks have been recorded during improvisations but don't think about an artsy intellectual approach to the theme, because UL's sound is created with the guts rather than with the brain. The reverbered and distorted sound seems to have been generated into a metallurgic factory and I won't suggest to you this CD-r if you don't love experimental improvised sounds or industrial music.
[...] It's a partly ambient release, but Ül mix it with oldschoold industrial flavors. Which mean that between the more dark-ambient structures, there are also some harder industrial outbursts.
The music starts pretty dark with low sounds. It utilizes a more musique concréte approach with the sounds used. With the second track, the industrial elements are brought upfront, with distorted guitars. The next track is quieter, just like the first track. It swings this way from track to track; from a soft music-concrete piece to a harder industrial piece, and again. Track 7 is the noisiest, with a lot of harsh sounds, ending with track 8 that somewhat sounds like we started with.
It’s a nice release to have, but nothing too great. The order of the songs doesn’t always work for me. The album mostly consists of two kinds of tracks, the more ambient tracks and the industrial tracks, and they sound too much alike. Instead of beginning with four ambient tracks and then four industrial tracks, they are mixed together, only not in the most interesting way. The album has a nice and mysterious feel from time to time [...].
[...] The trio of Ül utilizes acoustic instruments to create their semi-ambient-work. An important instrument in the drone-based work is the guitar, transmitting expressions of feedback resonance and raw sounds of string vibrations. [... ] The style of Ül is more abrasive generally and less trippy. Stylishly the music of the album floats in expressions of noise, post industrial and drone ambient. Good work.
The third album from ÜL serves a multitude of "guitar tuning" sound wall ambient and drone which has been a trademark for bands like SunnO))) and Troum. Alan Courtis, better known from his connection to Reynolds, is one of the figures behind this Argentinan band. I really liked the Reynold's 10 000 Chickens Symphony which was truly unique and downright oppressive (the main sound source being 10 000 chickens...).
In this record ÜL manages to squeeze out of electric guitars both calm drones (1. track) and quite interesting atonal rattle (7. track). However, especially the tracks in the begining of the album start very promisingly, but do not manage to develop any further, deflating the atmosphere. In my opinion, the mixing of the album is also rather uneven, and the guitar walls totally dominate over the other elements. This may have been one reason why I had difficulties to grasp the album.
I have never really liked noise music, basically because we must start from a basic conception, noise is the most primitive form of sound, noise music is a regression, a return to the primordial source of sound. Now some may argue that noise is more authentic, probably true, but primitive nevertheless, and with primitive multiple references come to mind: Monolithic, limited, ambiguous, formless...not to mention boring. The first music ever created was noise, rocks hitting rocks, bones rasping, objects crawling, man had not enough ability to synthesize notes yet. Tribal music is an advancement, rhythm is rationalized at this point and its able to be reproduced, rhythm is recognized then as a constant in all the movements within universe, the notion of harmony will later born from this principle. Harmonies instead are a step ahead in the evolution of music, an estrangement from our primitive days, the complex order within nature is dissected through mathematics, the scales of sounds are appreciated. It’s the twilight of ideas in a way.
Ok, I like noise music, cacophony may be interesting but only if added to a context as its content and limited possibility of expression can only be expanded with the surroundings in where the author wants to locate them. In synthesis, noise may evocate not what the author wants (Unless he creates a form whether is it rhythmic or melodic to direct his intention and thus obliterate the absolute within the orthodox noise formula), but what the listener can. Noise for noise is lame, it’s only intended to seduce neurotic harmony haters and snobbish auralists presuming of their incredible masochistic capability to resist ear ache.
In a way, noise it’s the more subjective exposition from the aural world therefore the principle from abstraction in terms of music, noise peremptorily needs backgrounds, and these are often associated with melody or rhythm, no absolute cacophonous ensemble may survive with just noise abstractions. The noise ensemble we have in here is an Argentine trio, formed by Alan Courtis , Fernando Perales and Charly Zaragoza. The work we have in here was conceived in 2007 but it will take a year to find the Zhelozobeton to be released, important to highlight the fact that this work was conceived and recorded in Argentina and it really shows how this country has become a landmark for the rest of the continent in what refers to different music and sonic art. They worship noise really close to the orthodox formula, exploring its limits and centre and ultimately marauding with simplistic notation and rhythm, which ultimately constitutes their salvation. Their investigation is formulated around the premise of the timbric possibilities applied to noise; in this sense their noise conception underlies the minimal side. The guitar that will constitute the main element where they will dig to find the form for their noise will not suffer from external electronic effects to enhance or manipulate its texture; it will be just a constant exploration of feedback and the amount and amplitude of sound trails that will get behind it. Drones are used but only to fully extend the feedback echo and to maintain a wall of sound at will that leads to gigantic clouds of static power. Their constructions are atonal with a fluent course guiding them, sort of a vibrant abstractionism, ultimately remitting to dense electro acoustic magnetisms and an organic interior.
First half of the work is very nebulous and shares sensibilities with Aidan Baker’s investigations on similar grounds, but they separate definitive ways in the external aspects that constitutes their body of sound, apparently with Ül the guitar play in itself is not relevant only the sound manifestation and they gets sided by strange field recordings that gives the sound structure an strange aspect that can be associated with an organic naturalness that lacks any type of feeling association, pure magnetic resonance. The guitar reverberation gets so obsequent at times that the amplifiers produce additional noise as product of the wave bounce over the microphones, I am not sure if this aspect was premeditated or just an accident though. Some songs manifest something resembling as an attempt to proper riffs but it may be just reverberation from the feedback and drone manipulation. As a whole the album is calmed, nevertheless raw and only the sixth and seventh track sets will assault with an emphasis on low toned experimentation, a lot more intense and shaking than the previous set.
As a whole the work resumes a defined experimental quest, a dedicated compromise with sound experimentation, squeezing the juice from the guitar sound in order to emancipate the hidden demons from the most basic nature, formless elementals made of noise, the electronic participation for this task is appreciated but its only relevant for the delineation of the work, to give a little context, to suggest amongst the noise creation, in that sense the work doesn’t fall in the often snobbish arrogance of the paradigm that follows the “noise for noise” operation, instead takes a form, the form that their sound experimentation can give and a context, the subtle additions they spill over the aural manifestation. If you like Drone guitar pushing further the frontiers of what is possible beyond simple atmospheres or walls of sound, you’ll like it.
An all-Argentinean trio of guitars - Fernando Perales, Charly Zaragoza and Alan Courtis – arrive at their third outing after two obscure albums on the Pjorn and Facon labels. According to the press release, the goal is “combining elements of noise, drone music and free atonal improvisation”, which is a correct enough interpretation for this substance. The darker-than-dark atmospheres, the slowed-down clangour, the metallic qualities of the near-subterranean clattering of the instruments contribute to place this CD in the zone where dirty droning rules, yet there are also moments of quasi-consonance bathed in industrial pulse that could appeal to the aficionados of the usual suspects who manipulate axes to generate enthralment. Only towards the end of the program the “psychedelic disturbance” factor is augmented, the whole becoming a little less digestible. But, otherwise, this is an album that – quietly and unassumingly, and especially at low volume from the speakers – guarantees several minutes of fascinating reverberating malaise.