Traveller's Tales Dark Ambient, Experimental Ucholak This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint. Martin Huba is a Slovakian underground musician who started playing in prog rock bands in the 90s. Though he enjoyed his time in these endeavors, he always wanted to branch out. Thus in the 2000s he set off on his own to explore experimental, electronic, and sampled music production. From these ventures came forth concept albums such as “Deliverance” and “Bury Me On The Red Planet”. These would serve as predecessors to his recently unveiled project, Ucholak, which completely embraces dark ambient music. With Ucholak, Huba seeks to craft science-fiction stories in epic fashion. This theory comes into play on his debut album under Ucholak titled “Traveller’s Tales”.“Traveller’s Tales” follows a future Earth where interstellar travel is possible. Astronauts are gone for years – whether it be in the tens, hundreds, or thousands – and in order to capture their experiences, they’re given an implant that can record everything known as capsules. After fitting themselves into cryo, they are put to sleep, but most perish before they arrive back on Earth. Thus, if the brain is destroyed, then the memories within are often corrupted. Only certain fragments of the report is saved and it’s not known what is real, and what is not. What is the whole truth, or just a falsehood? These memories, or capsules, are known as Traveller’s Tales in the universe Huba has built around Ucholak. Traveller's Tales by UcholakWhat is most important when it comes to dark ambient pieces for me are textures, and textures is what Huba brings to the table. Throughout my journey on ‘Part I’ I heard the sounds of laser fire from a forgotten battle, I heard spaceships take off and land, and I heard radio chatter from technology far beyond out reaches.  All served over a layer of space-age drone. What I was not fond of was how long it sometimes took for one section to move onto the next – a complaint that’s a mainstay throughout the album. For example, the first chapter of the song lasts for around one-minute and forty-seconds until it shifts gear. While this isn’t normally a problem in most songs, the repetition that pervades the music becomes very noticeable after sitting with it for that long. ‘Part II’ follows in a similar pattern to this one, albeit it’s much more of a natural piece consisting of flowing water, tribal-chants, and so much more. ‘Part III’ and ‘Part IV’ is where the music took a down turn for the worse. The reason being is that rather than trying to keep the creativity alive, trying to keep Ucholak’s tone bound in those fragmented legacies, I found that Ucholak took favor in stereotypical dark ambient trappings. Such as the underground, cavernous like drone material that so many other albums within the genre have in common. Or the static-y, lo-fi, multi-layered synths that have a moment of beauty before dragging on for too long. Or the general nothingness of flaky background noise without much context that doesn’t necessarily tell a story – but merely serves as unnecessary fodder. There are certain moments within ‘Part III’ and ‘Part IV’ that shine, such as the crunchy section on ‘Part IV’ that begins around the eight-minute and thirty-second mark, but there’s not enough meat to keep me coming back to them. What I would like to hear from Ucholak in the future is perhaps shorter, more concise pieces that focus on quality over quantity. Rather than trying to stuff multiple concepts into a fifteen- or sixteen-minute piece, take one concept and hammer out the details in a five-minute track.  Some of my favorite dark ambient releases have songs that don’t stretch out forever, but instead know when to call it quits and move on. And I think this is where Ucholak struggles. Nonetheless, Ucholak’s debut album “Traveller’s Tales” still has its charm. This is not a release I would simply listen to for entertainment, but I do find it worthy of sitting in the background as I work on a tabletop RPG session – or something in similar vein. Six out of ten.  350
Brutal Resonance

Ucholak - Traveller's Tales

6.0
"Alright"
Released off label 2022
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint. 

Martin Huba is a Slovakian underground musician who started playing in prog rock bands in the 90s. Though he enjoyed his time in these endeavors, he always wanted to branch out. Thus in the 2000s he set off on his own to explore experimental, electronic, and sampled music production. From these ventures came forth concept albums such as “Deliverance” and “Bury Me On The Red Planet”. These would serve as predecessors to his recently unveiled project, Ucholak, which completely embraces dark ambient music. With Ucholak, Huba seeks to craft science-fiction stories in epic fashion. This theory comes into play on his debut album under Ucholak titled “Traveller’s Tales”.

“Traveller’s Tales” follows a future Earth where interstellar travel is possible. Astronauts are gone for years – whether it be in the tens, hundreds, or thousands – and in order to capture their experiences, they’re given an implant that can record everything known as capsules. After fitting themselves into cryo, they are put to sleep, but most perish before they arrive back on Earth. Thus, if the brain is destroyed, then the memories within are often corrupted. Only certain fragments of the report is saved and it’s not known what is real, and what is not. What is the whole truth, or just a falsehood? These memories, or capsules, are known as Traveller’s Tales in the universe Huba has built around Ucholak. 


What is most important when it comes to dark ambient pieces for me are textures, and textures is what Huba brings to the table. Throughout my journey on ‘Part I’ I heard the sounds of laser fire from a forgotten battle, I heard spaceships take off and land, and I heard radio chatter from technology far beyond out reaches.  All served over a layer of space-age drone. What I was not fond of was how long it sometimes took for one section to move onto the next – a complaint that’s a mainstay throughout the album. For example, the first chapter of the song lasts for around one-minute and forty-seconds until it shifts gear. While this isn’t normally a problem in most songs, the repetition that pervades the music becomes very noticeable after sitting with it for that long. ‘Part II’ follows in a similar pattern to this one, albeit it’s much more of a natural piece consisting of flowing water, tribal-chants, and so much more. 

‘Part III’ and ‘Part IV’ is where the music took a down turn for the worse. The reason being is that rather than trying to keep the creativity alive, trying to keep Ucholak’s tone bound in those fragmented legacies, I found that Ucholak took favor in stereotypical dark ambient trappings. Such as the underground, cavernous like drone material that so many other albums within the genre have in common. Or the static-y, lo-fi, multi-layered synths that have a moment of beauty before dragging on for too long. Or the general nothingness of flaky background noise without much context that doesn’t necessarily tell a story – but merely serves as unnecessary fodder. There are certain moments within ‘Part III’ and ‘Part IV’ that shine, such as the crunchy section on ‘Part IV’ that begins around the eight-minute and thirty-second mark, but there’s not enough meat to keep me coming back to them. 

What I would like to hear from Ucholak in the future is perhaps shorter, more concise pieces that focus on quality over quantity. Rather than trying to stuff multiple concepts into a fifteen- or sixteen-minute piece, take one concept and hammer out the details in a five-minute track.  Some of my favorite dark ambient releases have songs that don’t stretch out forever, but instead know when to call it quits and move on. And I think this is where Ucholak struggles. 

Nonetheless, Ucholak’s debut album “Traveller’s Tales” still has its charm. This is not a release I would simply listen to for entertainment, but I do find it worthy of sitting in the background as I work on a tabletop RPG session – or something in similar vein. Six out of ten. 
Jun 20 2022

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
0
Shares

Buy this release

Bandcamp

Related articles

Skinny Puppy

Interview, Jan 01 2004

Destroid - 'Silent World'

Review, Mar 22 2010

Com.Pulsion - 'Machines'

Review, Jan 01 2005

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016