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Sonus Umbra - "Digging for Zeros"

Label - Independent Release
Reviewed by: Jerry Lucky
Genre: Prog Rock
Country: Mexico
Language: English
Length: 61:18
Release Date: 2005
Independent Release
Band Members: Luis Nasser / bass, acoustic & crunch guitars, keyboards, backing vocals Ricardo Gomez / electric & acoustic guitars
  Jeff Laramee / percussion, vocals Pablo Garcia / keyboards & vocals
  Andy Tillotson / acoustic & electric guitars, backing vocals Lisa Francis / vocals
  Adam Zygmunt / French horn (20)
Track Listing: 1.)-Zero (2:03) 11.)-Bloodstains In Paradise (5:59)
  2.)- Scream (2:53) 12.)- Meme Puppet Waltz (3:12)
  3.)- Sleepwalkers (2:16) 13.)-Dead Numbers (1:53)
  4.)-Children Of Cain (0:53) 14.)-Devil’s Promise (1:52)
  5.)- The Laughter Of The Dead (2:08) 15.)-Aleph (3:28)
  6.)-Foreshadows (2:16) 16.)-The Great Fall Inwards (4:57)
  7.)Invisible World (4:44) 17.)-The Music Of The Primes (4:26)
  8.)-Serial Grounds (1:46) 18.)-From The Ashes (0:54)
  9.)- Infestation (7:09) 19.)-Pariah (3:26)
  10.)-Spleen (2:54) 20.)-Infinity (2:10)
The Review

It’s taken another couple years but we are graced with a new release from Sonus Umbra entitled Digging for Zeros. The gap in recording is perhaps understandable when you consider that main man, Luis Nasser also participates with at least two other bands; he is one busy musician. One might think he’d be stretching himself too thinly, and yet by the sound of Digging for Zeros that doesn’t seem to be the case. If the expression “third times a charm” means anything it certainly can apply here. This is Sonus Umbra’s best work yet!***

For this third release Nasser (bass, keyboards, guitar, spoken voices) has the returning talents of Lisa Francis (lead vocals), Ricardo Gomez (acoustic & electric guitars), and Jeff Laramee (drums) and has added Pablo Garcia (piano, keyboards, samples vocals), and Andy Tillotson (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals). As on previous recordings Sonus Umbra relies on a larger pool of talent and continues to involve many special guests, this time including John Grant, Tim McCluskey, Nathaniel Underwood and Adam Zygmunt. ***

Musically the Sonus Umbra sound continues to develop with a nice balance between electric and acoustic instruments. A little acoustic guitar here is balanced with electric there…some acoustic piano is balanced with synths there. It’s a good mix. Songs like “Lost in the Invisible World” display this arranging quite well. The song features a bright mix of power chords, tempered with a delicate acoustic touch. And this is the pattern for the whole recording. Songs like “Infestations” can start out quite guitar-heavy and aggressive, but then the track will be linked to a short ambient connecting piece. Of course what this does is create a flow that moves the listener seamlessly from start to finish. With 20 tracks you know there’s some variety here, and in fact we go from a sequence that is only :53 seconds to the longest being just a tick over 7-minutes. In addition the mix of male and female vocals gives this work a sense of flow. With each of the tracks connected this is a very swiftly moving 61 minutes of music. ***

Compositionally the music created by Sonus Umbra on Digging for Zeros will remind you a lot of Pink Floyd and Roger Water’s work. It has that same overall feel, especially with the inclusion of various connecting sound effects and voices. To my ears, Digging for Zeros also has a wider range of tempo than previous Sonus Umbra releases, mixing many mid-tempo tracks with a few that are somewhat more aggressive or sprightly. The musicianship is first rate and really shows these people growing in their craft. This is a tremendous third release, displaying even more musical variety than previous efforts, yet tightly constructed and arranged all the while being very musically cohesive. This is great stuff.***


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