Week in Pop: Hoop, Sabri, Sarah Clanton

Sjimon Gompers

Caitlin Roberts of Seattle's Hoop takes us deep into the cult zeitgeist of the PNW; visual directed by So Pitted's Ziam Downey, photographed by Ben Schauland & Tyler Fiala.

Universal Sex Arena

Universal Sex Arena’s Voiture Tempo live; photographed by Vanessa Tomasin.

Available now from Kowloon Records, we had a chance to talk to Voiture Tempo about the new Universal Sex Arena album titled Abdita. Created & recorded with producer Maurizio Baggio, the album exemplifies performance art from conceptual forms that heightens elements of drama & elaborate song arrangements & execution.

Universal Sex Arena’s album Abdita maintains a momentum that does not stop or slow for anything. Voiture Tempo creates a record built around the notion of a south moving journey that is build around the self-described contemplations of life from love, nature, time (dance, music and the rhythm of life). Mysterious abound on the cathartic opener “Secret People”, continuing on the clock smashing “The Time Parlour”, the melodic-electric clamor on “Horizon of Barking Dogs” to the sinewy styles of “Radical Leather” (that all feature Luca Ferrari & Verden). Magic & motion remains a constant on cuts like “One Three”, to treacherous travels through tributaries like “Alongshore The River”, seeking a sanctuary “Like Home”, to bestial tamings on “Easy Beast”, to playing hard to get locally “In Palermo You Can’t Have Me”. The drama keeps on giving on “Meridiem”, howling along forward on the anthem “Aetna”, before mixing the trad with the modern on the closing “Momentum” that sums up the record Abdita perfectly.

We chatted with Universal Sex Arena’s Voiture Tempo in the following interview session:

Describe the ‘journey to the south’ concept that informed the making of Abdita.

It’s a simple concept: whenever we head south, everything gets better, at least for us. There’s such beautiful nature, the people are friendlier and the food tastes great. It’s almost as though all aspects of life take on a more human dimension. It’s sunnier for one, and who wants to work when you can meet up with friends, have a glass of wine, or just take a walk and breathe? Abdita is about finding an ideal south and feeling good together.

How did producer Maurizio Baggio further impact the vision for Abdita that you had at work?

Firstly, he almost immediately got where I wanted to go in terms of sound. From the beginning we agreed that the guitars’ weird mystic vibe should be one of the most important elements of the album, and this was very important to me.

We had so much fun while recording defining and improving the work that I was sad when it was all over. Apart from the classic production work of refining the song structures and harmonic aspects, Maurizio brought a lot of production ideas aimed at creating an Abdita scenario: to mention a few, the sitar solo on “Like Home”, the field recording on the “Secret People” intro (he actually recorded it early in the morning on the streets of Palermo, Sicily), or the backing vocals on “In Palermo You Can’t Have Me”.

Describe for us how you approach your own creative process in the translating of conceptual ideas to materialize musically.

There’s no initial concept. There are rhythmic ideas or progressions. I always write the music first, letting the percussion take me somewhere.

Cover art for Universal Sex Arena’s Abdita.

Current artists that have been inspiring you lately?

The Jesus Lizard pretty much always does it for me.

Now with Abdita out in the world, tell us what’s next for Universal Sex Arena.

We’re planning to play Europe within this fall. In the meantime playing Italy is cool.

Spring & summer plans?

I’m working on new material, and we’ve also got some cool festivals lined up here in Italy, so summer’s gonna be fun.

Hopes for the fall?

We’re busy putting together our first European tour, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Parting words of insights & wisdom?

Fantasy is a place where it rains. —Italo Calvino

Universal Sex Arena’s new album Abdita is available now via Kowloon Records, Spotify & everywhere.

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