Ummagma is a dream pop/shoegaze duo who formed in Moscow in 2003 when Shauna McLarnon (who hails from Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory of western Canada) and Alex Kretov (who hails from the small western Ukraine town of Kremenets) met at a performance by an acoustic guitarist. They started making music together, fell in love, got married. You know the routine.
In July of 2012, they simultaneously released their two albums Ummagma and Antigravity.
Lately, they’ve been remixing a lot of stuff by other bands, and a lot of people have been remixing their stuff. They had a lot to do with that Revolution: The Shoegaze Revival comp that I’ve been writing so much about. Shauna co-curated the compilation. They’ve got one of their own songs on there, one song that they remixed, and one that they collaborated on. This song isn’t on the compilation, but they asked me to put in the word about this. Since I like these kids so much, I naturally obliged.
There’s been a ton of turmoil in Ukraine, but Ummagma are looking for a brighter future for Eastern Europe in general and Ukraine in specific. The song “Kiev”, and the nine remixes of it that appear on the special release are a demonstration of their hope for triumph in the face of adversity. There are nine remixes, with each one coming from a different country. This one comes from the Japanese producer Shintaro Haioka. I know nothing about him other than what I’ve read: he offers “a distinctively Japanese take on modern electronic music”.
This is that song:
“Kiev (Haioka remix)” by Ummagma
I certainly like the original version of the song, which you can hear here, this is a very nice re-imagining of the song. It’s much dreamier and spacier. I’m reminded of the superb 5 EP by Slowdive, with the ambient electronic stuff standing in for the guitars and pedals that the band was known for. And it’s our general rule that anything that makes us think of Slowdive in any way is okay in our book.
Each of the songs on the remix collection is unique in its own way, and this is my favorite of the lot.
You can buy the compilation here