It’s been three years since Matt Hill released an album as Umberto, the giallo-inspired electronic project that Hill has been creating music within since 2008. The horror score and Italio Disco vibes Hill connected to and what’s fueled his work for over ten years has been the source of inspiration for many in the thriving heavy synth scene as of late. Umberto, along with Slasher Film Festival Strategy and Antoni Maiovvi helped clear the path to the imagined soundtrack genre.
Matt Hill has always taken a more pastoral path in his work. His albums were less about 70s Italio disco and 80s sleaze, but more along the lines of trippy dream worlds that hinted at dance floor beats and erotic rites in clearings within ancient forests. Umberto is the sound of the macabre, but done sweetly and with utter conviction.
On 2016s Alienation, Hill took Umberto’s sound to even more ornate and delicate places. Slightly psychedelic and trippy, that album felt like some lost piece of the late 60s remixed by a downtempo-loving Giorgio Moroder. The subtle flutes and delicate beats felt like a rebirth of the Umberto sound.
On July 12th Umberto releases Helpless Spectator via New York-based Thrill Jockey Records. If lead single “Spontaneous Possession” is any indication, Matt Hill is continuing to expand his sonic palate even further. There’s a hint of Tangerine Dream here, with more nods to ambient soundtracks of the early 80s than 70s horror vibes. Hill has always proven adept at making rich musical tapestries, but on “Spontaneous Possession” he’s added so many more colors. It’s a stunning track, and an exciting thought of having a record filled with such exquisite sounds.
Umberto is back.
Helpless Spectator will be released on July 12th. Head over to Thrill Jockey and preorder the album now.