Bio Ufomammut is a power trio formed in Italy in 1999 by Poia, Urlo and Vita, a lineup that has remained stable since. The trio have developed a sound characterized by lengthy songs centered on repeated heavy riffs coupled with droning vocals and the use of sound effects and synths.
8 is the Ufomammut’s 8th album, comprised of 8 tracks that flow into each other without interruption. This flow can also be seen when you tip 8 horizontally, thus it morphs into the leniscate from algebraic geometry – ∞ – a plane curve that meets at central point – or more commonly known as the infinity symbol.
A continuous stream of movement reflective of the uninterrupted nature of the album but also the continued togetherness of the essential elements of the band – Urlo, Poia and Vita – since the beginning of the band’s history in 1999. ∞ tipped vertically sees us return to the number 8. It must be stressed there is no singular pronunciation of the title, 8 is to be spoken in every language e.g. “eight” in Engish, “otto” in Italian, “acht” in German, huit in french and so on. 8 is a continuous flux of music, a singular entity, which can be defined in micro measurements by its 8 satellite songs. Each track expands upon the preceding song, unfolding into an exceedingly dense and malevolent journey, resulting in this being Ufomammut’s most extreme venture yet, with no room for breathing space in the 48 minutes.
Ufomammut’s status as one of the most potent, powerful and artistic contemporary doom artists in existence continues to captivate the masses, and the band’s worldwide grasp grows wider with each release. Ufomammut’s live show is supported by the internationally acclaimed video and graphic art of Malleus, a rock artists’ collective of which Poia and Urlo form a part, who conjure the entirety of Ufomammut’s visual impact.
Poia – Guitars and fx
Urlo – Bass, vocals, FX and synths
Vita – Drummer
Ciccio – Soundlord
Lu – visuals
The dismal realities, political or otherwise, that are part of our modern world naturally influence our creative voices. It is in this context that White Hills re-evaluated their approach to creating a new album. Having continually refined their sound, pushing the boundaries of psychedelic music, White Hills flipped the script on Stop Mute Defeat. Dave W. and Ego Sensation have brazenly produced an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything they’ve released before.
Hard-line, gritty, and intellectually engaged, Stop Mute Defeat is a New York record through and through. With this in mind, White Hills drafted Martin Bisi(Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Afrika Bambaataa) to mix. White Hills recorded with Bisi on two of their previous releases, Frying On This Rock in 2012 and its follow-up So You Are…So You’ll Be, however Stop Mute Defeat is the first time they worked with Martin “The Beast” Bisi in control of the mixing board. A native New Yorker who made his name in the city’s early hip-hop and no-wave scenes, Bisi was attracted to White Hills’ new material for its distinct early-80s Mudd Club feel. A dance hall, drug den, and bar, the Mudd Club was one of New York’s legendary haunts in the late 1970’s. As a center of a distinct art scene the club served as a major influence for White Hills and Stop Mute Defeat’s sound.
Following similar techniques to those propagated by William S. Burroughs (a regular at Mudd Club), Stop Mute Defeat sees White Hills break free from the guitar-driven structure of their earlier releases. Reassigning William Burroughs’ word “cut-up” technique to music, Dave W. and Ego Sensation deconstruct sound clips to create minimalist but rhythmically complex phrases. Title track ‘Stop Mute Defeat’ layers turbocharged bass loops with squalling guitar samples, to create a sound that calls to mind Xtrmntr-era Primal Scream. “If… 1… 2” goes even further down the rabbit hole, oscillating into the experimental electro-sound of early 80s Sheffield, UK band Cabaret Voltaire. Meanwhile the taut brawny grind of ‘Attack Mode’ industrially hardens White Hills’ rock boundaries to tribal densities.
Appalled by the rampant consumerism and the proliferation of ‘post-truth’ mythology, White Hills’ defiant lyricism is at their most philosophically scathing. Condemning doublespeak as “Subliminal seduction…a serenade with a grenade,” the song “Overlord” laments political and economic opportunism, where “In travesty, [there’s always] another dollar to be made.” On “Attack Mode” meanwhile, a clenched-jawed Dave W. channels the perverse cynicism of Throbbing Gristle, throwing scorn on “societies where misogyny leads and the objectification of young girls runs free.” Exposing Western vulgarity in bright light, Stop Mute Defeat is a fearless and necessary denunciation of the political and economic powers that be.
Between the release of 2015’s Walks For Motorists and the making of Stop Mute Defeat, members Dave W. and Ego Sensation took time out to focus on other artistic endeavors instead of keeping up their pace of an album a year. Diving deeper into the world of video, Ego has produced and exhibited a series of “Moving Stills”: videos that imbue static images with a subtle, uncanny motion. In these pieces, realism morphs with itself to create abstract visions. Through Dave W’s obsession with meditation, he was drawn back to his love of form and image, creating a series of sculpturally based hallucinatory abstract paintings in which the viewer is sucked into infinite space. These forays outside of music were instrumental in the shaping of Stop Mute Defeat.
Writing in his seminal postmodern oeuvre Naked Lunch, Burroughs states: “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” Rethinking their musical norms, personally and musically diving into uncertain waters, White Hills at once embrace and demonstrate the raw power of such abandon.