08 December 2022

UPUPAYAMA – The Golden Pond (2022, LP Cardinal Fuzz/Centripetal Force Records)




Label: Cardinal Fuzz / Centripetal Force Records

Format: LP, Album, Limited Edition, 1st Pressing 1000 copies (350 as Ltd color in color effect, white solid as and transparent green)

Release Date: 04 Nov 2022

Upupayāma’s self-titled debut album was a digital release in late 2020 and a vinyl release saw the light of day way later in July 2021, so since then, I keep on blaming myself, because I entered Upupayāma’s world so so so late, and I missed the chance to include Upupayāma’s self-titled debut album on the TOP 5 albums of 2021, or 2020, or whatever… Grrrr…! But, luckily I did manage to write a review about it (check review here)… The impact of this debut album was so strong that the label reissued it a few months after the initial vinyl release! … But let’s move forward. Upupayāma is a one-man band and the main force behind it is a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Italian guy that goes by the name Alessio Ferrari. And guess what? He has a 2nd album out, and hopefully, I managed to take notice of it (hehe), write the review that you are reading, and include it in the list of the best albums of 2022! Let’s have a look at the label’s press release from their Bandcamp page:

“Upupayāma is the musical persona of Alessio Ferrari, an Italian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who lives in a small mountain village above the city of Parma. Upupayāma’s music is rooted strongly in Eastern and Western folk traditions, an approach that Ferrari blends with his own modern sensibilities and style. In addition to playing guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, Ferrari himself also incorporates a number of other instruments into his sound, including sitar, erhu, flute, and a variety of percussion instruments.

For Ferrari, Upupayāma’s 2020 debut was all about the journey. The album served a series of musical vignettes that visited and weaved its way through a succession magical settings. The Golden Pond, conversely, is all about location. Inspired by his frequent visits to a small lake near his mountain home, Ferrari intentionally focused on the details of the place he inhabited, a practice he decided would translate well with his approach to writing music. This is something Ferrari feels is best exemplified with the album’s opening companion pieces, “Cuckoos from the House of Golden Tin” and “Entering the Time of Wilderness.”
The Golden Pond also continues Ferrari’s practice of using “invented language” in his lyrics. Ferrari wants his voice to be heard as if it were an additional instrument, a tool that does not convey specific messages. His goal is to allow the listener to assign personal meaning to the music. He says, “I want my incorporating invented language is a way of breaking down the barriers that are sometimes created by language, by having to define something at all costs. Ferrari adds, “I think one of my unconscious dreams is not to have to define anything, but just to be carried away by our feelings.”
Earlier this year Ferrari put together a group of musicians to help him deliver his live vision of Upupayāma. They made their debut in Rome in May, and they will play a couple of shows in advance of the album being released. Both dates will be in October, one in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and the other in Esslingen, Germany. Plans to tour throughout Europe in the spring of 2023 are currently in the works via El Borracho Booking. The Golden Pond will be Upupayāma’s second album with Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz, the first being the well-received self-titled debut in 2021, which is being repressed to coincide with the release of The Golden Pond in November”…

“The Golden Pond” contains 9 tracks clock-ticking from 1:42 to 7:28 min with a total duration of 44:42 min! So, our psychedelic journey will last only 44 minutes, and I’m saying this because after you finish listening to the album for the first time (and the second, and the third, and…) you get a feeling that somehow you were listening for a couple or more hours… Well, this is a cool and groovy effect that Upupayāma has upon the listener, or the listener’s mind if you prefer…

Under a dreamy-like and peaceful intro, the opener “Cuckoos From The House Of Golden Tin” melodically starts to unfold, an acoustic melody blends with the distinctive lyrics of Alessio’s own invented language while the track slowly transforms into a psychedelic kind of anthem where Middle Eastern and Medieval melodies are creating a unique atmosphere, suddenly and without warning the scenery becomes extremely stoner-like with a really heavy guitar sound (seems like somebody was pissed off or something), but luckily this lasts only a few seconds, and after a while, we’re back to “normal”, back to the mind-expanding PSYCH universe of Upupayāma, and then there’s this trippy haunted flute sound… magical! “Entering The Time Of Wilderness” uses the same dreamy acoustic and serene trip-a-delic soundscape but only for the first half of the song, because in the second half the tune transforms into a Psych-Rocker track…The whole album “shines”, the whole album is a “highlight” but if I had to pick just one, that would be the following one, “Mas”, a faster song, groovier with a tribalistic amazing rhythm, an incredible anthem drenched into Modern-aged Psychedelia! “Come Here, Noriko” is a lay-back tune, with a tremendous North-West Africa-like guitar sound though the lyrics/vocals are auto-projecting to my (yours too) mind, images from some Japanese mountains, I’m getting the feeling that this track blends Mediterranean and Japanese culture, this is a cross-cultural offshoot, yes it is! “At The Fairie Bower” has a cool and mind-expanding tribal atmosphere, a track that someone can say, it blinks one eye to the Tuareg music and the other eye to the land of the Rising Sun! Just imagine how the ideal soundtrack could have sounded to a wedding ceremony, a Tuareg and a Geisha, somewhere in the North Sahara… (Think I lost myself somewhere and I do not know what I’m saying… writing…) Let’s move on… “Ergobando” is so short (1:42) but is so fast that manages to melt your mind inside its Psychness! The kind of relaxing “El Sueno De La Curandera” follows, a hallucinogenic melody takes over, slowly becoming more rhythmic, obviously influenced/inspired by Middle Eastern musical scales (I suppose) though the ending it’s quite creepy-like… “Sata Me Pani” is nothing but an amazing blending of Middle East, Japanese, and Mediterranean atmospheres but all filtered through a tremendous West Coast late 60s Psych sounding! The fuzz is so groovylicious but also so short… The album comes to an end with “Ballad Of The Mugho”, and as the title implies, this is a ballad song with a cool electric guitar sound – rather addictive – and I suddenly had to realize that this particular guitar sound is the trademark sound of the whole album! Beautiful… “The Golden Pond” is a musical Psychedelic gift from Upupayāma to the world! Thanks a lot, Alessio! (by the way, “The Golden Pond” is also ONE-OF-THE-BEST albums of 2022… Can you dig it?) TimeLord Michalis


A1 Cuckoos From The House Of Golden Tin 7:28
A2 Entering The Time Of Wilderness 3:07
A3 Más 4:30
A4 Come Here, Noriko 5:56
B1 At The Fairie Bower 6:29
B2 Ergobando 1:42
B3 El Sueño De La Curandera 5:20
B4 Sata Me Pani 5:49
B5 Ballad Of The Mugho 4:22


Listen / Buy through UPUPAYAMA Bandcamp

Alternatively, get it via SHINY BEAST Mailorder


1 Response

  1. Pingback : TimeMachine Productions » TimeLord Michalis’ Best Albums of 2022 (Top 50+1)

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