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Ultraísta S/T

If you aren’t familiar with Nigel Godrich’s name, you’ve certainly heard his work; the English producer’s CV features an impressive range of artists, his name appearing in the credits of countless records from the likes of Paul McCartney, Beck, Air, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and of course, Radiohead, a longtime affiliation in which Godrich’s role parallels George Martin’s with the Beatles. His new project, Ultraista, however, is a different proposition, with Godrich contributing as a bona fide member of a trio that also includes LA session drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joey Waronker and London singer Laura Bettinson. Not surprising, the carefully sculpted layers of precision electronics that one would find in tracks like Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower” or Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace project (that both Godrich and Waronker perform in) are here in spades as well, but arranged in a far more vivid, dreamy fashion. Throughout, exotic polyrhythms bustle and pulse in Teutonic lockstep underneath aching synths, low and mid frequency buzzes, and occasional live percussion, piano and bass, all coming together to form chimerical electro-scapes for Bettinson’s yearning croon. It’s her hypnotic, beguiling melodies in particular that give Ultraista’s machine music its soul, allowing the trio to find a striking middle ground between the sultry late-’90s electronica of Lamb, Zero 7, and at times even Broadcast, and the alien dream worlds conjured from contemporary artists like the Knife (though not as unsettling) and Little Dragon. via Other Music digital download

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