Ultra_Eko Releases New Album 'Off The Grid'
It is a brave new world, in which people are made increasingly isolated by technology. The scene is set in opening track ‘Viral’ – ‘you are locked in this machine, from the moment you are born until your till dying day’ – the world has turned into a huge production line, in which humans – consumers – are churned out on production lines to fulfil their roles as consumers within the capitalist system – to the detriment of the natural world.
The protagonists of these tracks often find technology working against them – the cheating husband whose wife uses technology to expose his infidelities in ‘WIFI Wifey – the employee in ‘Boy Done Good’ who finds himself in a soulless job, typing numbers into a computer, the meaning of which he has no idea – the isolated dealer from ‘Alexandre Cazes’ who lives in the shadows through the dark net – indeed the shadow of Cazes hangs over the whole album. His life of material excess funded by ‘Alpha Bay’ – is like the dark side of capitalism – to me he is the anti-hero of this album – I was originally going to title it ‘The Life and Death of Alexandre Cazes’. The final track ‘Neon City’ – is like the final endpoint of this capitalist vision – where people are able to escape their lives and reality entirely – to buy into whatever life and fantasy they desire.
“I see this piece as much more accessible and popular work than the ‘Kitchen Sink Dramas’ EP – the sounds are much more enjoyable to listen to I feel,” Ultra_eko says. “However, the characters within them are no happier, indeed they are more isolated than ever. Looking over the whole album, there is not a single functioning relationship; as the narrator in ‘Eternal Sunshine’ says, ‘I feel so separate, as if there were a pane of glass between us. I write upon it, backwards, from right to left so you might read it right, but it seems the meaning of my words always getting lost’ – that line sums up a lot of the relationships in this work.”
People aren’t connecting properly – communication is misfiring. The drunk father and tripping son is an apt image – perceiving the world completely differently to each other – one hardly able to string a thought together – the other experiencing deep spiritual truths – yet bound together, arms around each other – joined physically and genetically. The relationships between men and woman are all damaged and broken – by infidelities, by boredom and stagnation, by past traumas which continue to haunt them.
Indeed, what is interesting, is that the most significant and meaningful relationships are those the narrators have with spiritual/imaginary beings – the protective spirits of ‘Sheep’s Clothing’ – Katherine from Costa Coffee, who our boy done good pictures himself with every night, as he lies alone in bed – the spirits who carry and guide the narrator in ‘my life’ – and of course – the ‘beautiful wife with two beautiful sons, who have wives and kids of their own’ – that the narrator imagines in ‘Neon City’ – before returning to a world where he is drugged by an android waitress. Indeed it is significant that the world he escapes to is one hundreds of years ago, in the countryside of Tuscany, an area of great natural beauty.
This is a very ambitious project with a lot of unique flavor that strikes me as a music critic. I love listening to artists with something different to offer. Ultra_eko takes South London rap and turns it on its head with this project, with such songs such as 'Wifi Wifey' - achieving a sound unlike anything I have heard before.
Listen here: https://song.link/album/s/4OPCtUqgZyUPlMH392W4zh