Thank Yous, Switch Ups & Things To Come

Hello again, it’s time for another UML newsletter! We’ve had an especially busy week but now it’s almost time for us to open up shop and we couldn’t be happier about it 🙂

First things first, a warm e-hug and note of appreciation to everyone that attended our GIAG on Monday. We were overwhelmed with the turnout and thrilled that so many new faces are showing with a keen interest in what we do. We’re aware that due to this there was a lack of space for people to get comfortable at points but it’s something we’ll work on and improve if we do something similar in the future. 

If you didn’t know by now, we’re opening the library this Monday (8th)! It all looks to be coming together now so the rest of this email will provide you with info about changes made to organisation, new purchases & upcoming events to note down in your calendar.

Changes made to the library
Over the summer we made the decision to change the way the library is organised (again!)
We thought this time we would go for the big one and organise by genre. This comes with a lot of challenges, and we were really conscious of how to keep the browsing experience as interesting and easy as possible without it delving into elitist territories. There’s nothing worse than feeling out left because you feel like your musical knowledge isn’t up to scratch, and this can definitely happen if you walk in and are overwhelmed by a multitude of obscure genres you’ve never heard of (we would never want to end up like this). We’ve tried to keep things as straightforward as possible, meaning that some sections (such as rock, jazz & blues and pop) are quite large. These larger ones will be alphabetised so you can should still be able to find the thing you’re looking for relatively easily. It also means that for genres with a smaller collection you can have a quick browse and stumble across stuff you’ve never heard of but might be interested in. We’ll still probably be shuffling a few things around over the next couple of weeks but by Monday everything will be generally in place ready to go.
We were lucky enough to receive extra funding from the Footsteps Fund (you can have a read about what they do here), so we jumped on the chance this gave us to buy some brand new equipment!!!

Hopefully this will future-proof us for a very long time, the extra inputs on the amp also meant we could finally have a dedicated cassette player. We’ve been buying some more recently (the revival is very much ON) and they sound great. So come on down to have a play around and listen to all our new music…

New purchases
Aside from our facebook poll we’ve bought a few things which are close to our hearts that we thought people might like to hear. Here’s a sample of a few of them:
Tirzah – Devotion (words by Safi):
Tirzah has long been a contributor to the UK experimental dance scene, masterfully draping softly-sung woes over slightly off-kilter electronics and tinging club-y beats with a chilling melancholy. Over the summer, she released her debut album ‘Devotion’, which channels her signature moodiness, but in a more subdued way, intertwined with sparse and pretty instrumentation. Produced by queen of cool Mica Levi (aka Micachu), ‘Devotion’ bares the affinity of two long-term friends and collaborators working in tandem; the result is something truly beguiling. The record feels almost sedated, and sedative, as Tirzah murmurs languidly along to sparse keys, understated beats and shimmery synths. She slinks between delicate piano ballads to more dance-y numbers, with sad undertones washing up consistently throughout. Her lyrics are frank, spilling the simplicities of love and loneliness as they can be. It’s shy, whimsical R&B for romantic minds. ‘Devotion’ is so loosely strung together at times, with frayed edges, wavering vocals and unshowy lyrics, that it offers an intimacy that feels genuine, warm and immensely special. I imagine this record would be best listened to whilst floating in a lake, or drifting through the clouds, but listening to it in the UML and/or your uni bedroom may be just as nice.
Jlin – Black Origami (words by Jim):
This album is grounded in footwork but has taken its erratic, fragmented rhythms into something beyond, with an alien, warlike intelligence of its own. Imagine a rogue squadron of drones, flying in formation. A carrier wave pulses through the swarm holding them together, while individual units break the line, with movements faster than the eyes can see, scouting the periphery, encountering strange objects and adversaries, skirmishes breaking out, every small event rippling through the multitude. Listening to it, you feel like you become some sort of insect hive-mind, what it must be like to have a unified swarm consciousness. It blurs the line of machine and animal with its glitchy noises that sound like animal squawks, buzzes or hisses, yet distinctly inorganic with their precision engineered tones and rhythm.
When I saw her play live it was just incredible, especially to dance really hard to. You feel like some kind of rhythmical genius when moving different parts of your body to each flourish in the beat, you end up making some really weird polygons, cutting dodecahedrons. This may all sound a bit overly abstract, but the best thing about Jlin is it’s always primarily music for the body. It just makes you feel rhythm in a way unlike most other music. There’s usually at least 4 distinct rhythms going on at each time, and while your brain tunes into one at a time they all overlap in the senses into a single really powerful groove.
U.S Girls – In a Poem Unlimited (words by Amelia):
If I had to choose an album of the year, it would not be an easy one but I would undoubtedly land on U.S. Girls’ masterpiece, ‘In A Poem Unlimited’. This album is rich with dissonant and seedy grooves on songs like ‘Incidental Boogie’, and shuffling drum loops, heady orchestral samples and muted 60s guitars on standout track ‘Rosebud’. Meg Remy’s lyrics are a perfect expression of female pain and power in her characteristic breathy narrative, “I still do what I want/And I still do what I like/But now, I got this man to show me that I’m all wrong.” Remy has a prolific background in tape manipulation; her work is always rich with samples, and live audiences are always treated to more of her archive. The album spans a range of emotions felt by female characters in different circumstances; from rage to scepticism. It has been called political pop, expressed in a language of glorious disco, surf and glam rock accents. Their live show is an incredible thing to behold: if you get a chance, catch them at YES Manchester on 21st Nov. And in the meantime, listen to this album!!!
Carla dal Forno & Laurel Halo (words by Christian):
Two absolute queens of contemporary experimental pop. I thought I would pair them together cause I see them as occupying very similar positions within the scene as it were but taking their influences from opposite sides of the musical spectrum. While Carla’s You Know What It’s Like is very much informed by the darker side of 80s post-punk and synth-pop, Laurel’s Dust takes elements from jazz, house, musique concrete, you could even make the case for a little bit of UK Garage (especially on the opener). Essentially, one is custom built for sulking around rainy streets in the winter, with the other for aimless summertime strolls in your favourite park. Both records are incredibly accomplished, albeit detached and quite indefinite. You may see them as hard to get into at first, but if ever there was a place to escape from day-to-day life, sit down, eat some food and really LISTEN to something it would be in the UML. Dust in particular was really revelatory for me, it arrived exactly when I needed it and I’ll continue to have very fond memories of listening on an almost daily basis two summers ago, time flies!
Solid Space – Space Museum (words by Christian):
Whether or not you have a disliking to the reissue epidemic that’s been swamping pressing plants from here to eternity, its very very hard to ignore something like this. A bedroom pop masterpiece and in my humble opinion one of the best albums to listen to in these Autumn months. Originally made way back when in the 80s by Matthew Vosburgh and Dan Goldstein (they were just 18 at the time, how is that even possible…), now lovingly remastered and rereleased by Dark Entries. A loose sci-fi concept album based around lots of little tidbits and cultural reference points (the main one is old school Doctor Who). It’s really just a whole lot of stripped down, catchy synth-pop numbers, but with enough depth and complexity that you’ll be coming back for more again and again. It even comes with a cute little insert, and most importantly sounds absolutely amazingggggg – we have George Horn to thank for that apparently. Please do yourself a favour and whack this one on when you next pop in to see us, I’m sure you won’t regret it. 

Upcoming events:
The next thing we have coming up is our first pub social of the year. It’s gonna be at Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 10th Oct, starting from about 7ish and then seeing where the night takes us. There’s no obligation to drink, we just thought it’s a good space to get everyone together and give new members/volunteers the chance to meet and experience some crucial bonding time! Here’s the facebook event to RSVP.

Strange Parade IS coming, we promise. We’re sorting out the last few details and will be trying have an event out for it this week. So look out for that.

That’s all for now. We’ll be back relatively soon with some more updates, but until then sleep well and good luck with the week ahead!

Much love,
UML xxx