09.30.11 - 09:02pm
My man Simon Doling wrote some entirely factually incorrect stuff about my brilliant songs here.
In case the world explodes and that link dies the text goes like this:
UM (or as he’s know these days, Pete UM) is the shizz. Still (other than the birth of my second son and marriage to my wife) the best thing that’s happened to me (that is i found out about his work and may not have otherwise) since moving to these wayward-eastern-parts from old Lahndon town nine years ago.
I totally chanced upon him by liking the sound of gig preview for The Portland Arms in Cambridge seven odd years back and drove the hour each way to wonder at his ultra-new sonics and lofi ramblings and did so on several occasions after that. I was also fortunate enough to make his aquaintence and assist him in the booking of one or two gigs including his first foray to Europe in which we travelled to Bern, Switzerland for him to play to two men and a dog along with fellow Cambridge electronic artist Man From Uranus.
Anyway, back to the point. The music, video & art that he makes are entirely his own thing and just quite frankly, ‘original’ (without wanting to sound like someone from here in Ipswich). I couldn’t even begin to liken him to another artist, though back in the day people would draw reasonably lazy comparisons such as ‘somewhere between Syd Barrett, David Byrne & Bowie’ and whilst these are way-off the mark I guess the Englishness of Bowie & classic Syd and possibly the stage prescence of Byrne have similarities but they have no influence in his musical stylings or output. Think some electronic pioneers, think some krautrock greats, think some psychedelic behemoths and then wittle them down to a condensed slither and put them into an urban-savvy situationist mixing it with th new styles and your nowhere near..
You see quite frankly, he got hold of all this technology and interwebbing business years ahead of most and used it all to his advantage to produce his art. He had a website that reflected him and defined what he did before we’d even heard of Myspace and unfortunately the rise of the idiots that has set on in the years since the popularity of social media has seen bands, venues & labels clutching at nothing whilst proclaiming to have everything via the platform which has made it difficult for judgements to possibly see what he’s been at for years. Click through onto his site UMBUSINESS from the main picture and trawl his archives..
His tracks run anything from ten seconds to several minutes some instrumental, some not; but nearly all with hidden depth & meaning. His sound is made up of loops & skronks of varied instruments & styles all pulled together, some of it resembles songs, some more like audio sketches. He has filmed hours upon hours of video over the years of both performances/musical happenings as well as spoken to camera philosophising in all matter of locations and states, the original blogger, revealing & segueing his life into his art.
Some of his more astonishing moments (and what drew me in the first place) were projects of his such as the ‘Um for Charity’ album of which he went round the charity shops of Cambridge secreting copies of the album in with their CD’s for sale. The open studio day in which he had a 12 hour happening inviting all & sundry via his website to either watch online or awkwardly shuffle into his studio, cum bedroom to watch him at work/perform, though I remember the website saying that you’d ‘Better go round the back of his place and let yourself in’ thus not disturbing his confused flatmates. Yeah, I know this was pinched from Warhol’s idea, but this was surburban Cambridge in the early 00’s, not downtown New York.
Out of many modern artists he is possibly the only one that has interested friends and ex bandmates of mine such as Gary Boniface who I played with in Cheesecake and has a circle of old heads who’ve sold records and music for years who most agreee that he’s really the only thing interesting to come out of this country for the last 20 years! He should be known worldwide as he oozes this amazing talent and could (and hopefully will) I’m sure do it until he can no more, but being based in a place such as Cambridge; where on one side there is a good electronic scene that he can happily work in & around for eternity, the other side promoters who are supposed music fans who search for The Next Big Thing. They don’t (and haven’t) realised that even though the NME or whomever say that that thing WILL have some drums & guitars, us the people realised years ago that ‘It’ may not.
If he was based in Stockholm or Berlin he’d be world famous.
When people look back in the future on the great things that have come out of Cambridge his name will be linked with Syd again, this time the similarity will be correct. Best thing to ever come out of Cambridge, Pete UM oh and that Syd bloke too..
Bless the fuck out of you dude. Nice one.