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Ulan Bator | Ego:Echo | Review

UNDER THE VOLCANO | Paul Lemos

brings together a wide spectrum of musical ideas and influences with its nine extended pieces.

Former Swans founder, Michael Gira's Young God Label is quickly establishing itself as one of Manhattan's most vital outlets for consistently challenging new music. With the release of France's Ulan Bator's second album, the group has progressed tremendously. Cleanly produced by Gira himself, Ego:Echo brings together a wide spectrum of musical ideas and influences with its nine extended pieces. Many of the tracks meld elements of Jazz, Noise, and electronic music within carefully composed, continuously engaging structures. The haunting quietude of "Hemisphere" sounds somewhat like a collaboration between early Tortoise and recent Yo La Tengo, whereas tracks like "Santa Lucia" feature the dissonant guitar squall reminiscent of early Sonic Youth. Although Ulan Bator show their influences, the band generally maintains a fairly distinct sound, moving from passages of somber melodic subtlety to others of controlled chaos. Ego:Echo is a mature, complex record by a band that shows significant promise.
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