Best Albums of 2020: Best of Ultimae Records

Inks (Ultimae)
Live In Corfu (Ultimae)
Apana EP (Ultimae)

For two decades the French-based label Ultimae Records has been one of the leading purveyors of 21st century strains of ambient techno, trance and miscellaneous electronica on the atmospheric tip. Although the label is releasing less material now than in the days of its lauded Fahrenheit Project compilations (2001-2011), these three fine releases are Ultimae’s strongest in some time.

Inks by Aes Dana (label co-owner Vincent Villuis) is a dark and stark journey through downtempo beats, 4/4 bangers and skittering, stuttering breaks. He mixes it up nicely: the metallic clangs and icy textures echo his teenager industrial roots, while the eerie widescreen drones and lucid sound design remain eternal Ultimae trademarks. By way of contrast, fans of the label’s ‘classic’ melodic sound will welcome Live In Corfu from the gifted but seldom heard Cell (Alex Scheffer), a recent live set mixing Cell classics with his first new material in 8 years. It captures everything that’s great about Alex’s downtempo: deep, tuneful, sophisticated electronica. Panoramic music for panoramic people, indeed. Last but not least, the Apana EP from Dutchman Martin Nonstatic shows the artist’s undiminished talent for incorporating digital crackles and glitch into his otherworldly slowbeats without the overkill. A little noise goes a long way, and Apana shows again why he’s Ultimae’s greatest latter-day discovery.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

Share this: