The Melbourne duo created one of the best electronic records of 2021.
“Ultra sound is a sonic journey through our hearts and minds, âwrite Melbourne’s Kult Kyss of their captivating debut EP. “In creating the EP, we wanted to explore all aspects of our identity as artists, crossing between vibrant euphoria, dark introspection and dreamy nostalgia, immersing listeners in a vast and multifaceted world.”
The EP has been a long time coming: the duo, made up of members Rromarin and Haxx, have been releasing some of Australia’s most interesting electronic music on a regular basis since their formation in 2016. Breathtaking performance on the ABC show All in 2018 they gained the attention of the general public and since then they have shared stages with some of the biggest bands in the country.
But so far, an official debut has eluded them. Ultrasound sees them teaming up with some very talented buddies – including in-demand producer LUCIANBLOMKAMP, Motez, I Know Leopard and BRUX. The resulting EP is infinitely striking, straddling the nostalgic and the futuristic.
We asked the duo to delve into the record piece by piece for us, sketching the story of the glittering mosaic of a record. Stuck in.
âBlood Upâ was created at a time when the future was most uncertain, amid the protests of the BLM and the onset of the global pandemic. The world felt like it was burning around us, with the struggle for change juxtaposed against the suffocating backdrop of COVID19. Lyrically, âBlood Upâ explores this moment in time, while also reflecting on generations of humans who unite and fight throughout history.
Interestingly enough, the original instrumental the vocals were written on ended up being the music for our single ‘Kill That Beat’. We then took the vocals from ‘Blood Up’ and arranged a new instrument around them, after which it all rolled out and came together quickly and organically.
Inspired by the sound of Queen, we wanted to try and have the same explosive and powerful vocals that dominate to lead the mix and arrangement. In this spirit, the piece begins with a minimal and atmospheric instrumental, with a heavy vocals soundscape that gains in intensity to burst into the fall. For this reason, we thought it would be the perfect introduction to EP.
At a time when things seemed incredibly limited, âSo Aliveâ was born. The experience of being in confinement has forced us to change our perspectives from a constant look to the future to live fully in the present. ‘So Alive’ takes inspiration from it and explores the magic and beauty that can be found in living in the moment, day in and day out.
In creating the track, we wanted to pay homage to early ’90s dance music, incorporating dusty sample breaks with euphoric synths and a simple, mantra-like vocal hook. We also had the chance to work with our friend LUCIANBLOMKAMP on an additional production, which helped bring its characteristic 2-step sound to the song.
The process of working with Lucian (as with all of our collaborators on the EP) was really organic and fun. He brought his laptop one day and remixed a new beat for âSo Aliveâ from scratch, after which we picked up his parts and incorporated them into our original arrangement, creating what we thought was a cool hybrid. Lucian has a fearless approach to beatmaking and we think you can hear it in the final track.
“Sugar Pill” holds a special place in our hearts as we wrote vocal hook a few years ago, and we were waiting for the right moment to revisit the idea and bring the song to life.
As with ‘So Alive’, in creating the production we drew heavily on dance and garage music from the 90s, and wanted to juxtapose a simple but meaningful lyrical hook with grainy breaks and a euphoric guitar lead.
In creating âSugar Pillâ we got the chance to work with our friend Motez, who took things to another level with his addition of icy arps, catchy vocal chops, and epic builds and drops. Tez added a Royksopp-like layer of darkness to the colorful soundscape that we absolutely adore.
Lyrically, the song is inspired by the healing power of love and the profound and positive effect it has on mental health and anxiety.
A dark and catchy track, ‘Familiar’ explores the experience of being trapped in a toxic relationship that you cannot resist, and patterns of behavior that repeat themselves over and over again.
The production of this song originated from a writing session with Hii Spirits, but after adding Rromarin’s voice, it ended up fitting into the universe of Ultrasound EP.
From a production standpoint, we wanted to show our love for progressive house music, creating a sense of sonic depth that stretches out before transforming into tight, punchy drops. The vocals cascade over each other in a huge wash, finding resolution in the groove of the kick drum and bass.
By creating ‘Melodi’ we had the chance to collaborate with our friend BRUX, who visited us at home for a co-writing session in 2019. The day of our session was special, not only because we were working with BRUX, but also due to the fact that we had just returned from Lost Dogs Home with our newly adopted cat, Lodi.
As Lodi explored his new surroundings, the three of us wrote the song that would become âMelodiâ, named in honor of this important day. Layering samples of BRUX’s âOP-1â with hooks from our old upright piano, the song was originally written in French before being translated into English 12 months later.
âMelodiâ was eventually completed at long distance via Zoom, with BRUX adding additional analog synths and his singular vocals to the choruses and the second verse. Lyrically and sonically, we wanted to create something dreamy while being upbeat and nostalgic, paying homage to artists such as Yelle, AIR and Rampa.
âGhostsâ also holds a special place in our hearts, not only because conceptually it’s a track we’ve always dreamed of creating, but also because we’ve been able to collaborate with our good friends Jenny and Luke from I Know Leopard.
Inspired by artists such as Massive Attack, Radiohead and Fever Ray, we wanted Ghosts to take listeners on a dark, dreamlike journey through our souls and into the night. In creating the production, we tried to capture that experience, layering dark piano chords over icy vocals, trip-hop rhythms and analog synths.
Jenny and Luke took the track to another level with the addition of their amazing string parts, which envelop the music and lift the vocals in the most haunting way. It was a humbling experience to send them the piece, only to have the most perfect string arrangement returned. âGhostsâ was the last song to be completed for the EP and seemed like the perfect way to end the journey.