Umberto – Helpless Spectator
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Umberto is an artist whose work is distinctly cinematic.
Composer Matt Hill’s performances and delicate
compositions taken together have the cumulative ability to
Hill, whose Umberto moniker is an homage to director
Umberto Lenzi, is an experienced and active film
composer, most recently scoring the film ‘All That We
Destroy’. In addition to film and commercial work,
Umberto has released a number of lauded solo recordings.
On Umberto’s Thrill Jockey debut ‘Helpless Spectator’, his
haunting music is otherworldly and affecting alike, leaving
the listener with an unsettling and profound air of mystery.
Umberto’s early recordings harken back to classic synthdriven
sci-fi and horror soundtracks. ‘Helpless Spectator’
uses synthesizers in an entirely different manner. Cold,
looming monolith tones are now warm, softer pads that
envelope the listener while guitar, cello, banjo and pedal
steel add movement and light. Still, Hill unsettles with his
arrangements and melodic phrasing. Unexpected shifts
and turns in even the most tender movements of ‘Helpless
Spectator’ are inflected with a contemplative melancholy
Umberto makes masterful use of varied textures
throughout the album, blending supernatural effects and
grounded instruments to create distinct atmospheres.
‘Helpless Spectator’ is inquisitive and moving in equal
measure, an album of sombre elegance and delicate
arrangements whose cumulative effect of unease is
LP pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged with free digital