Surface Zero

Pete Um

Cudighi Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The Cambridge, UK artist Pete Um is well versed in electro-acoustic sounds, and across many bizarre tunes he blends voices, instruments, samples and electronics into this highly interesting and sometimes quite strange listen that balances minimal versus maximal tendencies. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Super Tramp” gets the listen off to an off kilter start, where an otherworldly folk sound unfolds with a gentle precision. “Warm Sea Water” then follows with a dense buzzing and playful percussive sounds that's got some electro-spirit, and “The Next Hundred Years” continues with slow, thick synth-rock that alternates between singing and talking in a hypnotic fashion.

Entering the middle, the video game-esque noises of “Huma Bird” gives the 85 second track a bit of a sci-fi feel, while “Grey Lourie” takes that lead even further into smartly experimental and iconoclastic ideas of indie-rock. “Down & Beside”, one of the album's best and longest- though still under 3 minutes- is beat heavy, oddly rhythmic and quite stylish.

The record finishes on the busy and melodic electro manipulation of the vocally strong “Run Rabbit Run”, and the dreamy, intimate waves of “Wipers” that, even at 18 tracks, exits far too soon.

Um has been at it for a couple of decades now, and has amassed a very large catalog of outsider music, which entails, literally, thousands of songs, and includes music with the full band Ergo Phizmiz & Friends. Certainly eccentric and artistic, but with a subtle universal appeal, he's got a great sense of humor and wit, an arsenal of electronic noisemakers, and his vision is abstractly charming.

Indeed a tape poet at heart, this is physically only available on a pro-dubbed cassette, and it comes with a download code and some really eye catching art work, to boot.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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