(Re-release Review) Ujjaya- De Retour
Ujjaya (“victory”) is the moniker of Hery Randriambololona, a Malagasy multi-instrumentalist and sound artist based in Montigny le Bretonneux, France. Randriambololona’s overall style is an shamanic ambient primitivism that was strongly influenced by his careful study of North Indian classical music, though his choices in instrumentation have been borrowed liberally from a wide range of cultures. De Retour was unknown outside of Randriambololona’s closest circle of friends for sixteen years until the Spheredelic netlabel picked up what was originally a private issue cassette and gave it a much needed remastering in late 2014. This forgotten gem is available for free on the Spheredelic website.
Like his cornerstone influences Jorge Reyes and Jon Hassell, Randriambololona’s overall aesthetic and approach organically bring listeners into the animistic spiritual space of the ancients– the voices in these musical spaces take on the qualities of beings and elements, transcending the separation of humanity from the rest of nature. However, though Randriambololona utilizes unusual instrumentation hearkening back to ancient tradition in order to manifest this affect, his pieces are often mostly anchored by clear, melodic lines on electric guitar and richly textured, billowing synths. Like much of the work of Steve Roach, the sonic landscape of Ujjaya is a cosmic fusion of ancient tradition and electronic meditation– the lost howls and footsteps of ghosts find a special resonance here. A track like “3000 Ans” has an enfolding beauty as humble as a row of trees bowing slightly with the wind. This one comes highly recommended to all fans of deep ambient sounds.
“3000 Ans (3000 Years)” by Ujjaya