Nigel Godrich has a lot of titles: Radiohead’s 6th member, talented producer, author of well-known From The Basement series and so on. It’s not the titles that make the projects successful, but musician’s unique and versatile approach to them. And that’s not surprising, considering the great number of musicians and bands Godrich has worked with over the years. Not only Radiohead sound has formed partially thanks to him; there’s a whole lot of others that used Nigel’s producing skills at some point of their career, such as Natalie Imbruglia, R.E.M., Beck, Travis, U2, Air and even sir Paul McCartney. Having tried his band member / musician skills in Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace, Nigel finally made up his mind to form a band of his own, Ultraísta.
Ultraísta sound is a perfect example of Nigel Godrich’s handwriting, so to speak. In the heart of band’s debut album sound are Joey Waronker’s (from the same Atoms For Peace, by the way) beats, cold keyboards and Laura Bettinson’s multilayer vocals. In general, teh tracks feel somehow cold, with added softness from Laura’s voice. Not very emotional, yet with characteristic brightness in them. Autumn kind of cold brightness, to be precise. Short vocal parts in combination with drums and beats saturate the tracks and provide the full and rich sound.
Even before the album was released, we could get the first impression of what Ultraísta sounded like based on few published songs: Smalltalk, Static Light, Bad Insect and Strange Formula.
The two remixes, available before the album was out, are specifically worthy of attention: Small Talk mixed by Four Tet and director David Lynch’s take on Strange Formula, both included on the final record as bonus tracks. Gold Dayzz with its dominant part, Easier with melodic chorus and hypnotic Wash It Over are also among the memorable tracks that stand out from the rest of the album.
In case of Ultraísta, an album is something whole and complete. Though songs are quite different from one another, they naturally blend in the record as a whole, making it amazingly pleasant to listen to.