Album reviews

Birds Catching Fire

London-based collective, UKAEA will release its second album end of January.

London-based collective, UKAEA, known for its experimental electronic music, informed us of their second album, Birds Catching Fire In The Sky, to be released on Fri 19th Jan 2024 via The state51 Conspiracy label, both in vinyl LP and digital formats.

The new album is described as a lamentation in an age of mechanical violence but also a celebration of human defiance and endurance: “The caustic synth abrasion fleetingly recalls the deconstructed avant-club of Slikback or the electro-industrial music of Skinny Puppy. Elsewhere, there are reminders of the expansionist, psychedelic gabber of Gabber Modus Operandi, the transformative avant-pop of Arca and the declamatory vocals of Diamanda Galas.” Not sure that I understand the quote, but having listened through the album I’m sure the quote adequately describes the material on the album.

The album was created in close collaboration between producer-musician, Dan Jones and eleven musicians who are from a diverse range of artistic backgrounds. Each of the album’s six tracks showcases a unique vocalist, irreplicable in approach and performance.

Without knowing (being a classic music enthusiast) what is generally available in this field of music, I find Catching Fire In The Sky absolutely brilliant multi-genre material! Especially sonically. In some respects it approaches, as many modern music does, what is conventionally called Sound Art, without having the intention of being Sound Art. Don’t know what sort of PA loudspeakers would best serve the declarative aesthetics of this music; maybe such that are easy to ignore while entering into the wild spirit and dazzling energy of the album. The first track, in particular, bowled me over!

Timbral and rhythmic invention, unpredictability, sonic bombardment, bursts of colour!

Birds Catching Fire In The Sky may, in essence, be techno music, but still sufficiently “adventurous in its experimentalism” to make an appeal to a larger audience. Bold, genre-defying experimental electronic music. That’s exactly what it is.

Ahead of the album release, UKAEA has released two singles: ‘Habibi’ (inc. a remix by Rommek) on Thurs 26th October, and ‘La Stessa Crose’ (inc. a remix by Gum Takes Tooth) on Thurs 23rd Nov 2023 via digital retail and streaming services.


Dan Jones / UKAEA is a linchpin in the fertile DIY scenes associated with UK’s New River Studios, N4 and New Weird Britain that deserves highlighting.


Dan Jones: Production, composition, electronics, programming, mixing
Wayne Adams: Additional mixing (Big Lad, Petbrick, Jaaw)

Guest musicians:
Agathe Max: Violin, viola, electronics on all tracks except ‘La Stessa Croce’ (Papivores, Melos Kalpa, These Towns)
Dali De Saint Paul: Vocals on ‘Habibi’ (Harrga, EP/4, Viridian Ensemble)
Silvia Konstance: Vocals on ‘La Stessa Croce’ (Dame area)
Deyar Yasin: Vocals on ‘Dar El Fouad ‘
Marion Andrau: Vocals, Guitar, Production on ‘Nocturne Vulgaire’ (Too Many Things, Reciprocate, Throw Down Bones)
Conny Prantera: Vocals on ‘Rabbia’ (The Seer)
Kaya Moore: Vocals on ‘Vulnera’
Thomas Blackburn: Percussion on ‘Habibi’
Charly Blackburn: Ceramic sound sculptures on ‘Dar El Fouad’ (Ceramicist)
Will Glaser: Drums and percussion on ‘Nocturne Vulgaire’ (Sly & The Family Drone, World Sanguine Report, Pando Pando)
Leo Kurunis: Bass guitar on ‘Nocturne Vulgaire’ (Gallon Drunk, Price Attack)

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