Ubik is a very untypical release for Edition Stora: it contains no electronics, except for Kathrin Kuhrau's synthesizer and organ. Fronted by the very powerful singer Pia Burnette, Electro Sun delivered with Ubik a short but heart-drenching debut. Experimental pop songs rarely get so tortured and enticing at the same time. Comparisons could be drawn to Amy X Neuburg (for Burnette's tone; Neuburg's music is too light to really be fit) and Non Credo (for her vocal range, plus the gloomy atmospheres), but they only scratch the surface of Ubik's soul. The singer is the most striking feature, her voice captivating in "Guardian Angel," scary as hell in "Fire." But every member of this quartet brings a personal touch and peculiar twist to the whole. Kuhrau's barrel-organ-like accompaniments frame the music in strange abandoned-circus settings. Thomas Jung's double bass playing is much closer to British free improv than pop. Even Bruno Maier's minimal drumming and occasional trumpet playing feel alien. The resulting music truly is unclassifiable. It is inhabited by an obvious pop sensibility, but there is also something gothic about it, and something cabaret too, not to mention the strong experimental flavor. In "In 9 Cases of 10" [sic], a soft and slow tune that would not deface a Low CD suddenly turns into mayhem when the bassist steps on the distortion pedal (yes, with a double bass) and Burnette starts ad-libbing her heart out -- striking, powerful, original, and a hell of a ride. Ubik may be only 39 minutes long, but its density and lack of weaknesses make it a must-have for experimental pop fans. Strongly recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture