OMBRE - Believe You Me
By: Rob Gannon
Through happenstance and shared bills the impossibly otherworldly Julianna Barwick and the sorta-psychedelic oddball Helado Negro found one another, melding their distinctive personalities together as OMBRE on ambient curio Believe You Me – a soundtrack to the timeless junction between dimensions at which you might have expected these displaced souls to meet.
Barwick brings the same level of elemental intangibility as she did on last year’s wonderful long-playing debut The Magic Place, Helado Negro a little Latin shuffle here, a toy-box of instruments there in order to tie Barwick down from floating off entirely. Yet the pair still drift into focus intermittently, jumping from sequence to sequence in a manner that makes little sense under analysis, but that calmly flows unquestioned as in dream. The beautiful “Pausa Primera” is, for example, nothing more than a field recording of Hispanic children playing dual-tracked with Barwick’s painfully melancholic echo that renders the brief sample beyond ghostly.
Elsewhere, edge-of-consciousness drone segues into deeply meditative passages of choral cooing. A light-fingered twinkling parts the oneiric mist on “Dawning” and it’s like glimpsing the universe unravelling only to see silver linings at its every seam. “Tormentas” comes looming out of the hallucination with a selection of folk-jazz bass, horns and strings, Barwick providing mid-distance loops to help steer the sound in otherwise celestial directions.
Negro reveals his Ecuadorian roots with a dusty late-night beat borrowed from the likes of Moby and Air on “Weight Those Words” as it too approaches more recognisable song-craft as a result, though ambient cuts like the glorious “Sense” create a more nebulous space given form only by deliberate key repeats, atmospheric static and skipping loops.
Believe You Me closes with two minutes of acoustic strumming and minimal percussion as Barwick is allowed to run with an elusive attic-core line of fragile melody that proves beyond doubt that she and Negro are more than ships that pass in the night; Believe You Me is a document capturing the sounds of two alien worlds attempting to communicate, both optimistic and confident that harmony will reign.
Advised downloads: “Sense” and “Noche Brilla Pt 2”.
Believe You Me is released on the 27th August 2012 on Asthmatic Kitty.