Ultramarine

Ultramarine

Profile:
London-based duo Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond. Began life in 1989 initially inspired by early UK House music and long-standing schoolboy crushes on the white funk of A Certain Ratio, 23 Skidoo and Cabaret Voltaire. Their early releases were issued on the seminal Brussels-based label Les Disques Du Crépuscule and shortly afterwards by Brainiak Records, a label closely affiliated to The Brain club (an early purveyor of regular House music nights in Soho, London). Their debut album Folk was issued by Crépuscule in 1990 but the group are better known for their classic second album Every Man And Woman Is A Star, initially released on Brainiak in 1991 and given a wider audience with the release of an expanded version on Rough Trade (UK) in 1992; neatly described by Simon Reynolds in his book Energy Flash as:

Perhaps the first and best stab at that seeming contradiction-in-terms, pastoral techno... all sun-ripened, meandering lassitude and undulant dub-sway tempos... like acid-house suffused with the folky-jazzy ambience of the Canterbury scene.

Live appearances included a US tour in 1992 with Meat Beat Manifesto and Orbital and a US/European tour in 1993 supporting Björk. The group's collaborative work included a songwriting & recording partnership with Robert Wyatt, recordings with Kevin Ayers and David McAlmont plus numerous live and studio sessions with members of the London jazz scene, including Lol Coxhill, Iain Ballamy, Elton Dean, Dave Green, Roger Beaujolais, Greg Heath and Jimmy Hastings.

Every Man And Woman Is A Star was followed by the albums United Kingdoms (1993) and Bel Air (1995) – both released on Blanco Y Negro (UK) - and A User's Guide (1998) on New Electronica. LTM Publishing (Les Temps Modernes) released Companion (Every Man And Woman Is A Star Versions) (2003), a collection of remixes and alternative versions from the group’s early-90s period, and reissued A User's Guide (2005). In 2011, Ultramarine broke a 13-year silence with two new singles, Find A Way and Acid / Butch.

Before releasing material as a duo under the name Ultramarine, Cooper and Hammond were members of A Primary Industry, a band that can be considered Ultramarine's direct precursor. API consisted of five members including Jemma Mellerio, the vocalist on Ultramarine's first album Folk. API released an album on Sweatbox in 1986 titled Ultramarine. Despite being quite industrial in style, there are more than a few resemblances to Folk. Ultramarine's EP Wyndham Lewis, released in 1989 on Les Disques Du Crépuscule, was originally intended for release as A Primary Industry on Sweatbox in 1988 but before this could happen the label went bankrupt and shortly after Ultramarine's story started on Crépuscule.
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Ultramarine Discography

Albums

TWI 894 Ultramarine Folk (Album) Les Disques Du Crépuscule TWI 894 Belgium 1990 Sell This Version
BRAINKCD 21 Ultramarine Every Man And Woman Is A Star (Album) Brainiak Records BRAINKCD 21 UK 1991 Sell This Version
9 24528-2 Ultramarine United Kingdoms (Album) Blanco Y Negro 9 24528-2 US 1993 Sell This Version
0630-11206-1 Ultramarine Bel Air (Album) Blanco Y Negro 0630-11206-1 UK 1995 Sell This Version
elec 36lp Ultramarine A User's Guide (Album) New Electronica elec 36lp UK 1998 Sell This Version
RS-024CD Ultramarine This Time Last Year (Album) Real Soon RS-024CD UK 2013 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

TWI 890 Ultramarine Wyndham Lewis (EP) Les Disques Du Crépuscule TWI 890 Belgium 1989 Sell This Version
DAN 002-6 Ultramarine Stella Dancyclopaedia DAN 002-6 Belgium 1990 Sell This Version
Braink 19 Ultramarine Weird Gear / British Summertime(12") Brainiak Records Braink 19 UK 1991 Sell This Version
R2943 Ultramarine Nightfall In Sweetleaf (EP) Rough Trade R2943 UK 1992 Sell This Version
45 rev 7 Ultramarine Saratoga / Nova Scotia(7", Single) Rough Trade 45 rev 7 UK 1992 Sell This Version
NEG 65CDDJ Ultramarine Kingdom (Single, Maxi) Blanco Y Negro, Blanco Y Negro, Blanco Y Negro NEG 65CDDJ UK 1993 Sell This Version
PRO-CD-6526 Ultramarine Happy Land(CD, Single, Promo) Sire, Giant Records, Blanco Y Negro PRO-CD-6526 US 1993 Sell This Version
NEG67CD, 4509-94754-2 Ultramarine Barefoot E.P. (EP) Blanco Y Negro, Blanco Y Negro NEG67CD, 4509-94754-2 UK 1994 Sell This Version
SAM 1683 Ultramarine Sketches(12", Promo) Blanco Y Negro SAM 1683 UK 1995 Sell This Version
SAM 1541 Ultramarine First Air(12", Promo) Blanco Y Negro SAM 1541 UK 1995 Sell This Version
NEG 76CD2, 4509 98240-2 Ultramarine Hymn (Single, EP, Maxi) Blanco Y Negro NEG 76CD2, 4509 98240-2 UK 1994 Sell This Version
elec 34t Ultramarine On The Brink New Electronica elec 34t UK 1998 Sell This Version
RS-003 Ultramarine Carl Craig Remixes(12") Real Soon RS-003 UK 2003 Sell This Version
RS-022 Ultramarine Find A Way(7") Real Soon RS-022 UK 2011 Sell This Version
WNCL008 Ultramarine Acid / Butch(10") WNCL Recordings WNCL008 UK 2011 Sell This Version
RS-025 Ultramarine Passwords(12", EP) Real Soon RS-025 UK 2014 Sell This Version

Compilations

LTMCD2352 Ultramarine Companion (Every Man And Woman Is A Star Versions)(CD, Album, Comp) LTM (4) LTMCD2352 UK 2003 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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jonathan_armstrong

jonathan_armstrong

April 16, 2004
I remember seeing these guys live back in 1992 as part of the Communion Tour (Ultramarine, Orbital, and Meat Beat Manifesto).

Their albums are really great - they have a timeless sound that defies aging quite well. It's a mixture of stark Detroit-ish techno, dubby downtempo, and acoustic instrumentation. It sounds quirky, and it is, but it works really well. This was the "end of the night" soundtrack at aroud 6 A.M. on many occasions - "Lights in my Brain" was my favorite track.

It's really a shame that more techno artists can't make quality ALBUMS like this. This actually feels like a real album versus just another collection of 12" records. Kinda makes you feel like the promise of electronica has yet to be fulfilled. Maybe Carl Craig remixes that just came out will introduce these guys to the younger generation.
Alastis

Alastis

March 20, 2004
One of the worst things that one can say about this band is that they are no longer around (i can safely assume that, since their latest release came out in 1998).

It's a shame, really, since their music sounds great. Its a mix of some different styles: ambient, folk, dub and i guess that they were one of few who could mix electronic & live instrumentation equally well.

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