Ulla Straus - Big Room
Before she went supernova with 2020's Tumbling Against A Wall, Ulla released Big Room under her full name for New York's excellent Quiet Time Tapes imprint, an eight track collection instrumental in mapping out a little of the terrain that Straus was to explore later on more widely heard records. Now getting its first vinyl pressing, it's interesting to return to these tracks, which taken as a whole feel a little more scattershot than Tumbling... or Limitless Frame, moving around a few different approaches and ideas rather than presenting a cohesive whole. There's ambient bliss, decayed/ing textures, contrasting minimalist/maximalist approaches to space and composition, glitched electronics and uncanny slo-moed sounds. In essence, it's very forward thinking, modern electronic music that seeks to keep the human in its construction. So yeah, the Ulla we know and love, but more explorative than conceptualised, evolving gently so as to suggest both possibility and a rare instinct that's made hers such a compelling voice in what is a very busy field. Also a reminder for me that there's been something like 10 albums/collaborations in the past five years. How many more 'ambient' records a person needs at this point is open to question, but you can be sure that whatever Ulla Straus is up to is always worthy of investigation.
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