Album review: Upupayāma – The Golden Pond

Words by Lady Godiva

Stemming from Alessio Ferrari’s vivid imagination and bucolic surroundings, The Golden Pond is Upupayama’s new release following his promising self-titled debut from last year. As the artwork may manifest, Upupayāma (literally mountain hoopoe), a semi-fictional bird, still flies over the most outstanding and lush greenery. A mere glance at the sleeve already has a calming and meditative effect. Take a further look and you will notice the fine line between fiction and reality with two human incarnations playing flute and the sitar. One may guess that these are spiritual embodiments of Upupayāma getting power and inspiration from the aforementioned and celebrated golden pond. 

While this lake exists in real life in Ferrari’s neck of the woods in the Apennine mountains near Parma, its creative influx and emanations are wholesomely and intrinsically psychedelic. 

Having been formerly described as “Kikagaku Moyo drinking tea in an Italian forest discussing Träd Gräs Och Stenar with an elf “, the metaphor remains fitting. Like them, he is able to switch seamlessly from one music realm to another. However, there is something peculiar about the vibrant dreamscapes of this one-man band, he lets you travel in time in the blink of an eye. This may also remind of contemporary psych chameleons Wax Machine, especially around their 2020 release Earthsong of Silence.

One literally flies over the cuckoo’s nest with “Cuckoos from the house of Golden Tin” where you are greeted by soothing sounds reminiscent of Fairport Convention to be later visited by something resembling Black Sabbath for a rather brief but intense moment. That kind of transition does not sound incongruous at all, it is the natural flow of Upupayāma’s brain map. He instills an acute stream of consciousness, not dissimilar to what Lewis Carroll achieved with Alice in Wonderland

Rhythms and mental landscapes morph into one another through his rich textural input, which is where his wizardry lies, he does not only take you to a place, he enables the listener to travel in dimensions. His golden pond turns into a sacred place that sprawls from acid folk shores to stoner mountains, this is the ideal soundtrack to expand your horizons while the sulfur skies of November have started surfacing. Get a taste of hallucinogenic greenscapes to escape the ambient frost. 

The Golden Pond was released 4th November on Centrietal Force / Cardinal Fuzz Records.

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