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ARTIST
TITLE
Umbra
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
HUBRO 3607LP HUBRO 3607LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
11/12/2021

LP version. The appearance of the second album by Lumen Drones, Umbra, carries the status of a major event. Coming fully five years after the group's startling, self-titled debut recording -- released, in late 2015, on ECM Records -- the long-awaited follow-up marks a significant leap forward. No less experimental than its predecessor, and certainly no less "electric", yet in many ways a deeper and more profound expression of the trio's interests, Umbra is probably some sort of masterpiece. Over nine tracks varying from two to six minutes in length, Nils Økland (fiddles), Per Steinar Lie (guitars) and Ørjan Haaland (drums) create a completely convincing musical world where the conventional boundaries separating different styles seem to disappear. Exactly what type of music this might be, and where it might come from, ceases to matter once one is engaged in the act of listening. Each tune has a distinct identity of its own, and imprints itself on the mind very easily, as does the aesthetic unity of the album as a whole. Indeed, Umbra proves compulsively listenable at whatever level you choose, and repays close attention and repeated exposure. It also takes us far beyond the initial, shock-effect response to the first album, and the perceived incongruity of a musician schooled in folk and classical music collaborating with members of an experimental rock band, the guitarist and drummer from the influential post-rock band The Low Frequency in Stereo. On Umbra, everything fits perfectly. While a convenient image for Lumen Drones could be that of a lone voice (Økland's Hardanger fiddle) crying out in the forest, where it's menaced by the jagged shapes of malevolent trees (Per Steinar Lie's buzzsaw guitar and Ørjan Haaland's rumbling drums), the truth is much less clear-cut. Økland's "voice" can be as wild and as frenzied as either of his bandmates, while they are as capable as Økland of great delicacy and restraint.