Ursa Minor – Fassine (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

19748870_1582635118454764_5000260728514237771_nThere are many perks of being in a band, one of the less obvious ones is being perfectly equipped to pay tribute to your musical heroes, those who shaped your formative years and who may have even been the reason for you taking up musical arms in the first place. Fassine are no strangers to the idea of paying tribute your heroes, their cover of XTC’s That Wave saw them merge the original’s acid-tinged, hazy psychedelic vibe with their own future-pop sound to great effect. Here they set their sights on an even bigger figure.

Ursa Minor sees the band write their own musical love letter to David Bowie’s Berlin years and the ambient nature of the songs found on the albums Low and Heroes in particular. This feels like a drifting neo-classical passage built from a collision of cool technology and warm instrumentation with cellos drifting through electronic landscapes and celestial vocals weaving their way through the backbeats, softening the edges like a dusting of snow.

I’m always amazed at the Fassine‘s ability to create music that feels wonderfully chilled yet so dynamic at the same time, ambient yet anthemic, a quality which is built from clever choices of space and texture rather than merely where you set the volume control. Yet again they have set a benchmark for nu-pop, ambient dance or whatever it is they do….the Ursa may be minor, but what they have created here is major achievement.

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