Aga Ujma

Aga Ujma - In The Ocean

March 2021

Aga Ujma signs to Slow Dance Recordings and releases debut single ‘In The Ocean’ paired with a short animation by New York artist Gabriela Sibilska. She A captivating individual, both her music and personality brim with a childlike openness but also a hint of a fairytale darkness beneath the autumnal warmth. ‘In the ocean’ was written using traditional polyphonic Central Javanese patterns (cengkok) played on gender barung in unusual ways: I extended them, chopped in little chunks and alternated some of their melodies and glued them back together, creating a mosaic with numeric music notation (kepatihan) - see here: link. Then, I fitted in a tailored singing part with a poem that reflects on the state of sadness and where it can lead us if we trust the process. It also touches upon missing multiple homes at the same time and a psychedelic tropical picnic on a desert beach. -- ‘In The Ocean’ is a delicately textured track that combines her soothing vocals with syncopated rhythms and abrupt changes in tone performed on her other instrument of choice, a gendèr, which is a Gamelan instrument used in Balinese and Javanese traditional music. It is paired with a music video by experimental animation artist Gabriela Sibilska, Polish-born but based in New York. Gabriela on the video: “Aga’s music has a lot of layers, and it is so beautifully complicated and complex. In my work, I like to combine more traditional, cartoony 2D animation with a range of experimental practices, including glitch art and exploring the power of old analog video mixers.” Aga Ujma’s distinct sound can trace a lineage between fellow explorers Bjork, Múm, Eivør, CocoRosie and Current 93; blending traditional folk with minimal avant-garde production and Eastern instrumentation. Her glacial vocals, underpinned by the delicate plucking of an Indonesian sasando and golden passages of gendèr barung, make a beautiful homage between very different places that are close to her heart.

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