It is hard to give a one-liner about the varied and divergent music of the newly-formed group Ultraphauna. It exhibits characteristics of chamber music, progressive and art rock, and the demented pop songs of Mr. Bungle. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Timba Harris (Estradasphere, formerly of Secret Chiefs 3) and Dorothy Wave (a.P.A.t.T.), the album also includes studio contributions from bassist Toby Driver (Kayo Dot and Maudlin of the Well) and drummer Joel Murray (also a.P.A.t.T.).
Drive by Harris’s violin and Wave’s keyboards and vocals, these ten pieces explore a strangely catchy and slightly uncomfortable mix of textures and feelings. To that point, the 10-minute Mont Tauch is an accessible yet complex instrumental that employs prog rock stylings with a vaguely Latin feel as Harris and Wave explore subtle contrapuntal lines. This is followed by Summoning the Maker, which has a bass riff that screams Magma, though it is accompanied by folk / classical leads from Harris rather than Kobaian chant.
While much of the album is instrumental, Wave’s vocals are present on a handful of tracks. They are unobtrusive yet strange, a progression in the long tradition of art song in creative rock – her voice can be viewed as another instrument. In contrast, the album ends with Pearl, a quirky circus-pop song that is oddly not out of character with the rest of the tracks.
Highly recommended for fans of iconoclasms in the vein of Bungle / Secret Chiefs / Sleepytime Gorilla Museum / Melvins. No No No No will be released on April 21 by Dur & Doux.
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