Looks like we picked the wrong year to slip on keeping up with these guys. In 2018 Unknown Mortal Orchestra (the ongoing musical project of Ruban Nielson) released their fourth full-length, Sex & Food. Propelled by drum-machine funk and pink-hued psychedelic disco, the record was cut in various studios spanning the globe — from Reykjavik and Auckland to Seoul and Hanoi. We interviewed Nielson last May in anticipation of that release, which you can read here.
But check it out: galvanized by their time in Hanoi, while cutting the aforementioned record, Nielson and co. laid down a session at Phu Sa Studios; an inspired set that in turn yielded their second offering of last year, IC-01 Hanoi. Accompanied by his dad and brother, along with Vietnamese musician Minh Nguyen, IC-01 sheds yet a another light on Nielson’s evolving muse. Still psychedelic? Indeed, but here the seven eponymously titled tracks mine a different vein, eschewing Nielson’s preternatural pop instincts for a mercurial amalgam of free jazz, atmospheric space funk, ambient and more. The entirety of IC-01 has had us in its grip the past couple of weeks, but none more so than its penultimate track, “Hanoi 6.”
Consider this an appendment to our 2018 Year In Review …
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