SHORT BIOPIC & DISCOGRAPHY
Undara is a project of organic and ethnic oriented ambient music, combining subtle electronics with percussion, wind instruments, electric guitar and some ethnic instruments and samples. We place Undara between night and day, between dreams and vigil, as something undefined and in continual flux.
Undara comes from the idea of making a project inspired by the work of musicians such as Steve Roach, Jorge Reyes, Loren Nerell, Robert Rich, Tuu, Arbre Noir, Terra Ambient among many others, who showed how the acoustic and the electronic can be combined, expanding the scope of both languages and contexts. The name of the project came out naturally (!), from a track by Steve Roach & David Hudson that refers to the lava tubes of Undara, in Australia. None of us have been there so this stands as a perfect anthem for our music: it is real but for us it's just an imagined, mental image.
- Traveller (Lost gterma, 2012)
- Live at lost satellite (Archaic drones, 2013)
- Shadows (Archaic drones, 2014)
- Elements (?)
Undara was founded in 2008 by me, J. A. (Wolfskin, Karnnos), and A. Coelho (Sektor 304, Sparagmos, Profan) to explore more ambient and subtle music than what we’ve been doing, quite more industrial and experimental. At the same time I always wanted to do something in this vein, blending electronic atmospheres with more acoustic concrete instruments.
At that time we made some attempts to do some tracks but it was only in 2009, after meeting Nuno Pinto de Carvalho [NPC] (didgeridoo and percussion player), that the first Undara tracks come to life, like “Hearts of darkness” (inspired by the book of the same name), “Perpetual motion” or “Seed of storms”.
The initial idea for Undara was to do a record that covered different “landscapes” (that are sometimes quite defined to us and sometimes also on the track titles), and explore the many roads we had on our horizon; we wanted to have a tribal and archaic feel on the record, but also that it could have more beautiful moments... And that was also a way of defining the name of the record – “Traveller” because making this record was a sort of travel (where we ended up having several companions) but also we think that the listener will also be a traveller, wandering through her/his own mental space while listening to our music.
Aside from NPC (mentor of several projects like the electronic-based TSAS), that played didgeridoo and darbuka, we also had a couple of recording sessions with A. C. (who plays flutes and recorder) and M. J. (guitar player, mentor of Plateau Omega). By the time we had recorded most of the tracks we had never played together nor did all the members knew each other! The record was being planned and structured by A. Coelho and me with the essential participation of the musicians recorded separately. We then had the very interesting collaboration of Franklin Pereira (that plays several Indian instruments) on “Dawning ecstasies” and of A. Guerra (that also plays in Karnnos and Profan) on “Cosmic drift”. Franklin played the surbahar and Guerra the guitar.
When the record was almost finished Johan, the owner of the small Swedish label lost gterma (http://gterma.blogspot.pt/), contacted us, showing interest in releasing the record, which he did some months later. The artwork of “Traveller” as made by AT and A. Coelho and the record had a great mastering work by AP (http://www.ghostsounds.net/). You can read 3 reviews of the record here, on Sonic Immersion, Hypnagogue and Santa Sangre Magazine:
Meanwhile we started playing live which made us more like a kind of a band. Our concerts are usually unique, although some tracks have become recurrent in the line-up. But we like to present concerts that are thought as a whole, with a sense of connection between the tracks. At some point A. Coelho decided to leave Undara, so he could focus his energies on Sektor 304 and other projects he has. MJ has also played only once with us, since he lives around 300 kms away from us. So, I, NPC, AC, A. Guerra and recently Mr. Lopes on the bass, have consistently constituted our line-up in live concerts, with some occasional guests like J. Filipe (that played percussion with us).
It was this line-up that played in the Lost Satellite emission of June 13th 2012, emitted live by the online radio Stillstream (www.stillstream.com). The idea came from the host of Lost Satellite, Neonlogic World (https://soundcloud.com/neonlogicworld) that heard our tracks and thought we’d be perfect to a live emission. Since the program had the length of two hours we constructed a long set, made of calm and relaxed tracks and others more rhythmic and dynamic, so the whole experience would be complex and rich. After nearly a year working on its production, we released part of that set on Archaic Drones, which was the label's first release. The tracks present almost only 2 overdubs and I’d say they’re a good example of how Undara sounds live. In a live situation we tend to give the tracks more dynamics, trying to play the most of it and not have too much recorded material going on. As happened with “Traveller”, A. P mastered this record.
|Live at NeonLogic World home for the world|
Here’s some info about the tracks featured on “Live at lost satellite”:
01 INTRO/GROUND PULSE – The intro section is an edited version of what we played live. Actually this is from my remix of “Seed of storms”, that will appear on “Shadows”. “Ground pulse” is a track from “Elements” and features a more minimal approach, with drones, didgeridoo and udongo.
02 SUBMERSION – This track is from “Traveller”. We’ve been playing this song live for a while and it gained a different flavour from the record version, with a more melodic touch.
03 DUSK TRIBES – This track is still unreleased. It has a more rhythmic feeling and it will probably appear in the follow-up of “Elements”.
04 COSMIC DRIFT – Another track that has been quite present in our live sets, taken from “Traveller” and close to the original version.
05 FLUID MOON part 2 – Another track from “Elements”, combining electronic drones, flutes, African instruments (balophone) and voices. As the name suggests it has a very fluid nature.
06 NOITE – Taken from “Elements” this track evolves from an almost ritual atmosphere to a more melodic part. It’s very present in our live sets since we really like it! It means “night” in Portuguese.
07 HEARTS OF DARKNESS – Taken from “Traveller” this is another track we like playing live, with its very intense ritual feeling. The hypnotic bass gives it a more psychedelic touch which is quite curious.
08 PERPETUAL MOTION – Another track from “Traveller”, featuring a great work of A. Coelho in the sampler as the basis of it. Ritual and archaic.
09 BODY OF COSMOS – And we ended this set with “Body of cosmos”, a track that is unreleased. Although a bit different from the usual Undara sound it has the same kind of floating, travelling feeling.
SHADOWS: THE REMIXES
Meanwhile we had the idea of doing some remixes of “Traveller” tracks, since most of them are made of several layers of sounds that could be re-assembled and re-worked in different logics or frameworks. I like to consider that tracks are never finished, and can be worked into different forms to play live or to give them a different flavour or mood.
The idea for “Shadows” was very simple: to invite several producers to do some remixes of “Traveller” tracks, preferably from different musical backgrounds. We decided to call this record “Shadows” because the remixes are like reflections, different versions for the same mental landscape. In the end we had producers delivering some worthy remixes, some that promised a remix but never did and some that rejected the idea. So, working with the first bunch, I’m currently organizing the record to release it somewhere along 2014 through Archaic Drones. The result of the remixes is mainly in the ambient dimensions, with some incursions into more rhythmic field.
Finally, we are also working on a new record of original material. As happened with “Traveller”, this record has a defined concept – instead of the travel metaphor we decided to work around the idea of the elements, not only the natural ones (fire, water, wind and earth) but also the spiritual one, the quintessence. Besides the straightforward associations of these elements we’ve been also working with some of their connections with symbolic or archetypal imagery; for example the association between water and fertility, the moon and the night. We still don’t have an expected release date for this record since we’ve been doing the record slowly, with no pressures. Anyway, you can have some taste of "Elements" on “Live at lost satellite” record through the tracks “Ground pulse”, “Noite” and “Fluid moon”.