Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK


Featuring a stellar line-up of Edvard Graham Lewis (Wire, Dome), Matthew Simms (Wire, It Hugs Back), Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga, Vanishing Twin) and Thighpaulsandra (Coil, Spiritualized, Julian Cope) UUUU could be considered something of an experimental supergroup. UUUU came together via their associations and involvement with Wire and over three days they recorded and assessed what would become their first album. The results of those improvised sessions were edited and finally mixed by Thighpaulsandra. Released on Editions Mego, as is this latest release, it was an album of improvisation taking in hypnotic Krautrock, prog rock inspired electronics fuelled by expressive drum performances and extended experimental passages with the odd off-kilter pop song. This 12-inch is their second release and even though they haven't yet succeeded in titling their releases (beyond s/t, anyway) these two tracks allow the group to elaborate on the sonic explorations and improvisations found within their debut album.

'Electric Blanket' ebbs from feedback and drones with an interplay of bells and rattles as synths slowly unfurl, as electronics blur, bend and vibrate. Magaletti's precise beats lay down the cornerstone for Lewis' Wire-like bass throbs and the chugging motorik beat from which everything (r)evolves. Synths weave a spectral melody that vies between spacey territory and psychedelic orchestrations. There's a sense of transcendent radiance here that they never hit on the album. Submerging into a wash of sound shifts, bells and percussion it becomes increasingly abstract and serene, lost in a haze of pulsing drones, scattered cosmic synth scales, textured feedback and brushed drumming. From drones and improvisation to motorik rhythms to murky psychedelia 'Electric Blanket' is another stunning experimental track from UUUU which sits nicely alongside the Krautrock grooves of 'Five Gates' and ''Verlagerung, Verlagerung, Verlagerung' from their debut album.

'Nice Setting' is more abstract both in terms of its sound construction and in the oblique spoken words featured within. Opening to sporadic thuds and eerie horrorscore keys, the spoken tones of Thighpaulsandra emerge creating the narrative for 'Nice Setting'. "I was hung out to dry whilst building an arch" he begins. "Dry as a bone, brittle, parched, a few pints short ... a full pint short of a pumping heart", he continues. Spliced and manipulated electronics and improvised clanks and thuds provide the abstract setting, while chiming vibraphone rhythms ring out to accompany the spoken narrative on the concept of time. Sounds shift, collapse and fold in on themselves as soft bass tones pulse. "It's all about time" Thighpaulsandra repeats. His vocal treated, stretched and layered as it ebbs out into the ether with disjointed piano keys, synth cuts and churning electronics cast against the tick-tock of time forever marching onwards. The sounds may be constructed from UUUU but the form of 'Nice Setting' does come close to sounding like a Thighpaulsandra solo track, which for someone like me who keeps up with the work of Thighpaulsandra isn't a bad thing at all.

With only two tracks it naturally fails to match the expressive and expansive experimentation of the improvised electronic and rock jams found on the debut album, but it does offer more than a glimpse of what UUUU do in the mesmerising melodic layers of 'Electric Blanket' and the abstract improvised sound of 'Nice Setting'. Already sold out at source, it seems other copies of the 12-inch release won't be available for too long. With such a thrilling line-up UUUU let's hope schedules permit another round of live performances or at least another recording session. For more information go to Editions Mego