What a surprise to the this recording pop up out of the blue after so many years, as UTD’s last release (“Over the Pond”) came out in 2003. The major part of the 10-track/69-minute release was recorded between April and July 2020 with the exception of a tribute track to Edgar Froese (“Berlin”) and “Sundunes pt1” (an ambient soundscape representing intense summer heat). The liner notes state these two pieces were assignments for a sound engineering course of Grant’s son Liam. “
Beach Train” kicks things off with some jolly nice sequencing along lots of vibrant Berlin School synth pads, something also applying to “Earthrise” following a bit later. This next to the freeform expanse “Pyramids of Symex” mixing vintage textures with a slice of BR-Vangelis (due to the brassy CS-80 sound) or the moody, tranquil drift “Monolith” venturing into beautiful cosmic environs. The 16-minute “The Blind Watchmaker”, where UTD recreates something similar to Eno’s tape-delay system, features a lovely narrative yet cinematic vibe shining through the gentle ebb and flow of synth washes and choir textures. And then there’s the nearly 12-minute “Berlin” made in 2015, an emotive piece combining Froese-esque guitar and mellotron flute at first, then focusing on Edgar’s sequencer-style mixed with e-guitar along an ending that deliberately nods to the finale of “Rubycon pt. 2”. Rather gloomy and darker shaded atmospheres make up “The Naiads”, a fascinating piece featuring phased Solina strings and Mellotron Female Voices floating over Cello Mellotron pads. TD-fans will be pleased with the gently sequenced “Sonor” with its charming PPG vocal sounds while the imaginary “Thirteen Bells” rounds out the recording nicely with a mix of Mellotron Male and Female Voices with eerie wind sounds resonating in the background.
I can only hope this very fine release is the start of more forthcoming stuff from UTD as they’ve been missed from the scene too long.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Under the Dome artist page
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