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Rick Melling

Album release

Rick Melling, Features Writer

London (UK) duo ALMA are due to release their new self-titled mini album on the 14th August.

Expect expertly composed, sweeping soundscapes which musically convey something like the majesty of nature.

Named appropriately cosmically after a large and powerful network of radio telescopes in Chile, "ALMA" consists of seven serenely affectionate and cinematic tracks, one of which is recently released gem "To the Stars."

Akin to the extensive musical topographies created by Iceland's Sigur Ros, the wide space and slow momentum of these recordings gives a feeling of rebirth, or of new air.

The mournful yet sweetly optimistic vocals of Pete Lambrou burn gradually over long tracks which employ loops, delays, strings and keys.

Slow, repeated progressions on those keys backed by the extended, bending synth and string sections give "ALMA" a photographic, desert-like feel. There's a natural vastness to it which is tranquil, introspective and rich - life and vitality, both sweetly melancholy and forward-looking, run through the record.

Like a number of the more purist ambient groups, there exists no real 'stand-out' track on the record - but rather the album works better when listened to cover-to-cover, in one long meditative and perhaps epiphany-laden session ( the right circumstance).

The whole experience is like crawling out of a filthy cave, shedding lurid and amniotic membranes from your skin, and then spreading a pair of valiant, powerful wings to fly off into a bright and endless sky.

That was how my own morning seemed to pan out, anyway.

ALMA are playing a special release show for "ALMA" at St Pancras old Church in London on 14th August.