[Eg0_162] Ujjaya : The Landing Zone

Ujjaya is a french ethno-ambient musician with malagasy roots. His music is mainly a reflection of his yoga practice and of his travel through Asia for spiritual purposes .
Before becoming public as Ujjaya in 2011 , Hery Randriambololona stayed in seclusion for 15 years coming out for pilgrimage and once in a year for a live radio show. The Landing Zone is a testimony of this era.

Click on the picture to visit the download page on archive.org



Full album download links

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Review by Stuart Bruce @ Chaindlk.com

“The Landing Zone” is an extremely mellow mix of super-soft distant drumming, long organic drones, and jungle atmospheres, all layered up with a subtle and sympathetic digital production. Other elements make fleeting cameos, such as noodling guitars on “La Ballade De Taccoli Otenan” or sampled radio reportage on “Jungle Fever”. It’s a very familiar set of ingredients, certainly not breaking new territory, but it’s handled confidently, and the result is mostly warm and sincere.

If the limited PR info is to be believed, and sometimes it isn’t, musician Hery Randraimbololona, the man behind Ujjaya, stayed in seclusion for 15 years until 2011, only coming out of seclusion once a year for a radio show (!). Despite this apparent seclusion Randraimbololona seems to be very in tune with ambient production, and the Westernisation of ethnic tones and instruments into a global soundscape that is at best brilliant multi-culturalism, as worst plagiarism of authenticity. There’s a slight timelessness to this, a sense that this album could’ve been made at any point since the fusion of worldbeat and electronica started getting popular in the early 90’s.

On pieces like “La Ballade De Taccoli Otenan”, there’s an authenticity to the gentle percussion- this is not some Deep Forest-esque sample library cheating- yet despite seemingly not being a sampled loop, there’s a rather stark simplicity to the rhythms being played- no variations, no evolutions, not even any fills, just a determined steadiness. Despite being billed as a “live” album, this gives it more of a studio flavour.

Each track has a distinct-enough lead, I may embarrass myself here but “Tout Est Conscience” employs a more harpsichord-like sound for melodies, while on “Tiruvinamali” it sounds more like a sitar. The track “Eyembilan” is an anomaly, with a thoroughly rock guitar pattern wandering in and threatening to take things into much more prog rock territory; this is the most skippable track.

Final track “Hanuman” is firmly in Future Sound Of London territory.

“The Landing Zone” is, at time of writing, being given away free online, on a site that is seemingly legitimate even though it looks slightly like a dodgy torrent site. So as such there’s no reason not to check out this reasonably familiar-sounding ethno-ambient blend for yourself. I’m perhaps heaping it with too much praise if I describe it as a sort of Asian version of The KLF’s “Chill Out” but in principle that’s not a disservice.

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