Winter Tale – Ummagma + A.R. Kane (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

ummagma-a-r-kane-winter-tale-cover-artworkTo say that this is a single built around cross pollination, across time, geography and style is still under selling how collaborative and encompassing of long distanced and disparate strands this is. Ummagma are a Canadian-Ukrainian dream-pop act of this generation; A.R. Kane were UK pioneers of the genre from back in the heady days of the emerging 4AD label, but it is definitely the common ground not the differences that is celebrated here.

In it’s original version Winter Tale is a heady swirl of dreamy-pop vibes, built very much on beat and melody, which ticks many of the same boxes as The Cadbury Sisters do, that perfect blend of pop accessibility and simple, bucolic beauty.

It is what happens when the aforementioned dream-pop soundscapers gets there hands on things that the song finds itself going down the rabbit hole. Those rigid structures and consistent beats are replaced with a warped template that connects dots between the experimentalism of the 4AD ethic and its re-emergence as post-rock. The music shimmers and collides, soars and trembles as if it scares itself, thankfully between the original and the extremes of this remix there is also a radio mix to act as a wonderful compromise.

It is the present being informed by the past, young acolytes putting themselves in the hands of past masters and whether you opt for the straight forward delivery or revel in A.R. Kane doing a spot of avant-gardening, it shows that oddly enough what is the most fragile and inconsistent of all musical genres is also one of the most long-lived and consistently mercurial, if that isn’t indeed too mutually exclusive an idea.


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