Monday, 24th July 2017. 6:39:41am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Synthpop, New Wave UltraMax- Technamericana


Artist: UltraMax
CD Title: Technamericana
Label: UltraMax Music
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 8/19/04

The problem with the latest UltraMax CD isn’t that Max Fomitchev is a bad producer. He’s already proven that he’s not on earlier albums, which layered classical music with hard-hitting techno and house rhythms. No, the problem here is the concept itself. While the mathematical precision of Beethoven lent itself perfectly to the computerized perfection of high-energy dance music, the work of 20th century American songwriters like George Gershwin and Willie Nelson don’t fare nearly as well. Nelson’s “Crazy” is a wonderful song because of its raw humanity, which gets lost amidst the cold rhythms and electronic effects of Fomitchev’s version. Likewise, Gershwin’s “Summertime” – not to mention Sublime’s marijuana-induced California reggae interpretation – is full of lazy sensuality, and again, the non-stop four-on-the-floor beats bludgeon the soul right out of it. This isn’t to say that this disc is entirely bad, though. The big band horns of W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues” sound inexplicably great after receiving the techno treatment, and “Glimpses of Hope” is irresistibly uplifting, low-calorie ear candy. Much to my surprise, though, my favorite track on this disc is “Arwen’s Song,” inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which I utterly loathe in both its novel and film incarnations. Russian operetta singer Eugenia Zamchalova’s voice is so gorgeous I can overlook the fact that she’s singing in “Elvish.” Country and big band music weren’t nearly as inspired an ingredient for this techno producer as classical violins, but this album has some great moments, so it’s worth a listen. For sound samples, remixes, and purchase information, visit Fomitchev’s website at www.ultramax-music.com.


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