It’s not often I’m at a loss for words, but Lili Refrain’s ULU has left me tongue tied. This EP by the Rome based vocalist/guitarist/composer is made up of one twenty-two minute composition, divided into three movements – GULA, TERRA 2.0 and MUL.
I’m not positive but I believe it was recorded live in the studio. I mention this because ULU would be a knockout no matter how it was recorded, but done live… I’ll just say that it makes me feel profoundly lazy.
The first movement, GULA, starts with minimal percussion and a hushed guitar drone. Somewhere around three minutes in, a Gilmouresque guitar figure enters. At about four and a half minutes Refrain sings a soaring, yet restrained vocal line.
Over the course of ULU there are a number of points of reference; Live At Pompeii-era Pink Floyd; Burning World-era Swans; Anna Von Hausswolff…
As GULA transitions into the second movement, TERRA 2.0, a heavy, insistent riff appears…and builds. The tempo picks up and Refrain plays a gnarly, winding solo. As TERRA 2.0 builds to a crescendo, Refrain marks the transition to the spacier, and more mellow final movement, MUL, with an eerie vocal line that sounds like throat singing.
Over the course of ULU there are a number of points of reference; Live At Pompeii-era Pink Floyd; Burning World-era Swans; Anna Von Hausswolff; there’s even a hint of black metal in Refrain’s approach, particularly her soloing.
These really are points of reference, as Refrain’s sound and approach are her own.
Scribed by: Neddal Ayad