Uni (2) ‎– La'movin

Throb Records ‎– THROB-1
CD, Album, Digipak

Tracklist Hide Credits

1 Departure 7:47
2 Underground Around 7:40
3 Ghost Dance
Vocals – Tom La Blanc
4 Biblove 4:36
5 Time Out 8:12
6 Adventrue 8:08
7 The Opened Eyes 8:26
8 La Fin 2:38
Video Spotted Mesa (Live Video)



Total time: 56:19



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October 13, 2004
edited over 15 years ago

Uni are one of Japan's better kept psy-secrets. This duo, hailing from Kyoto, has released two excellent albums, as well as a home video over the last 5 years, puts on great live shows, but is still somehow more or less completely unknown outside of Japan. La'Movin is their third studio album and their first Throb Records. Uni have always had a wonderfully unique sound, somehow combining classic goa goodness from Macho, with live percussion via Osho and a general melodic sense that is just simply "Uni".

Uni has been quiet for a couple years and rumors in Japan were that they were "changing their concept" some. Being a huge fan of all of Uni's output to date, these comments had me worried, so I listened to their new album in both a state of excitement and trepidation. I must admit that I wasn't sure what to think upon first listen, but at some point I realized I had listened to the album about 15 times in two days and had no real desire to turn it off yet and I'm happy to report it has been growing on me steadily in the month since then.

So how does it sound? We start our journey with Depature. This is a fitting title as it is the beginning of this new music voyage and also something new for Uni. In many ways this track is the most "trademark" Uni, yet it is very different from their previous work. The basis of the track is a basic Uni kick and bassline combo over which tons of live drumming, various flyby effects and lots of melodies float about. The main difference is that, while in the past, the melodies and sounds tended to be fairly straight out of the goa textbook, this time around the sound selection is more out in left field and I find some of it to be downright jazzy at times (while not being cheesy). Upon first listen I wasn't terribly excited, but this has become one of my favorite tracks of the album.

Underground Around is next and also had me rather worried at first. It starts off nicely, but then suddenly drops in a bassline that is a bit too close to modern full-on psy for me. Things soon thicken up and the track dirfts back and forth from crazy to ethereal floating and the bassline starts to fit the mood. I'm still not entirely solid on the beginning, but the second half of the track is a damn fine piece of music. This track also begins to introduce something that becomes a theme of this album. Heavily distorted parts.

Ghost Dance is up to bat next and Uni gives us a solid whack at bat here. Strangely, some of the breaks parts here remind me of some of The Delta's more distorted techno-ish loops, but this track sound nothing like The Delta. Uni are fairly skilled at delivering fairly long melodic lines and when have a few here, along with a lot of live snare soloing and general drum madness by Osho.

Bibolove is a very different piece of music for Uni and is very untraditional psy-trance. This reminds me more of some of Nine Inch Nails' older quiet, but distorted percussion to hell, pieces. A nice quiet but noisy piece, we have some smooth synth lines providing the base for some spacey piano lines floating gentlely over a mess of distorted percussion loops. Very different, but I like it a lot.

Time Cut is one of my favorite pieces from this album. It starts us off slowly in a similar vibe to Bibolove, with some laidback live drumming by Osho drenched in echo and lots of backwards synth lines sliding to and fro. By 1:50 things have built up into traditional Uni psy-mode and are thumping along nicely. Time Cut features a lot of development and is constaintly changing and morphing. There are some great heavily filtered, phased and echoed plucked synths and a great break featuring some nice call and reply type orchestral synth lines. Again, I wasn't sold on the first listen, but I am a believer now.

Next up is Adventure, which features more echo'ed piano lines (something Uni have always been good at) along with some brief crunchy guitar chords as well as some nice clean guitar parts. This is a fairly dark thumper recalling some of their earlier work. The goa touches aren't as strong as they used to be, but the track development is solid and its a good number for the dance floor as well as home listening. There are lots of thick flyby sounds floating around here as well as some nice distorted leads contrasted well to alternating clean parts (another thing Uni is skilled at).

The Opened Eyes starts out epic with some slow breaky drum lines before suddenly dropping into an odd bouncing, almost swinging bass and straight kick bit. This feels a bit odd at first, but you get used to it and then at about 3:30 they straighten things out and when are suddenly in the middle of another good Uni track with all the basic trademarks we have discussed so far.

La Fin finishes us off with a brief 2:38 piece focusing mostly on Osho's drumming. Some slow atmospheric stringy synth lines come in to bring the album to a moody close nicely.

The end result - This album is definately a departure of Uni, yet still somehow manages to retain all the general things that make Uni, well, Uni. It is by no means perfect. In particular there are some recording issues, especially in the contrasts between the recordings of the live drums and the electronic percussion, but in the end, the quality of the music makes you overlook such issues, further proving that good music will always win out over perfectly recorded mediocre music. This album is definately different from most of the psy out there today and doesn't neatly fit into any one category (heck, often its not really even anything I would call psy). However, I suspect that listeners who are looking for something new and care more about interested and good music than genre titles will find a lot of reasons to spend some quality time with this CD. 8/10