"Undark 3396 / Undark One: Strange Familiar" - Mills, Russell / Undark


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Full Track Listing

  • Red Scatter
  • Ice in the Sleeve
  • Stone’s Eggs
  • Blood is Climbing
  • Rain in Our Room
  • How Safe is Deep?
  • Underground Kite
  • Her 200 Bones

Background Information

The em:t label was an ambient music label which released recordings in the mid 1990s. Each recording on the label was assigned a four digit number as a title, the spine listed the label and the number only, each CD bore the same Chinese character, and all releases were in digipack format. Thus this release is called “em:t 3396” on the spine and back cover, and “undark 3396” on the front cover and CD. This was done to meet the strict aesthetic of the label, and later re-releases on another label would list the artist as Russell Mills, and the name of the album as “Undark One: Strange Familiar”.

Russell Mills is a British artist who works in multimedia, working with lighting, design, and recordings. He has done two albums under the Undark project, this album was the first of the two. The album “Undark One: Strange Familiar” featured a wide array of musicians. Mills collected sounds from various musicians, including U2’s The Edge, and then made a musical collage of the resultant sounds and produced an album containing eight songs. The original credits of the album only reveal the artists involved on the overall project and do not break down the credits to who performed on which song. The Edge is credited with chase guitar on this project. All of the songs may have some material from the Edge mixed into the overall sonic scape.

The album was re-released in 2000 by Bella Union as mentioned above. That release listed the collaborators on the album on the back cover mixed in with song titles. These were random placements, and just because the Edge is listed below “Stone’s Eggs” does not mean that is the only track on which he participates. David Sylvain contributes to “How Safe is Deep?” but is not listed anywhere near the title of that song for instance. Other contributors listed include Michael Brook, famous for instroducing the Edge to the infinite guitar, and Brian Eno who has worked extensively in the past with U2 as a producer and collaborator, and Kevin Shields from the band My Bloody Valentine.

The album was recorded and mixed at Square Centre Studios between April and July, 1996, and the album was released in December of the same year.

Liner Notes

Sculpted & produced by russell mills with tom smyth & will joss of miasma. engineered by miasma. recorded and mixed at square center studios, between april & july 1996. russell mills: bowls, bells, blood flow frequencies, field recordings, hippo-copter, palette knives, piano wires, lion & elephant roarers, flotsam & jetsam & the shed method. miasma: anchors, undertows & nifty digits throughout, with thanks to the following for supplying & allowing use of specially created sounds: michael brook: infinate guitar. declan colgan: synthesier programming. hywel davies: ghost cellos. cellists: john kirby, vicky miller, ingrid perrin & julie spencer. recorded at st. anne & st. agnes lutherian church, london by alison craig. the edge: chase guitar. brian eno: select-a-bonk rhythm & sonics. roger eno: cloud drones. robin guthrie: ziggurat rhythm. bill laswell: wolf bass, steam bed & drones. kevin shields: sulphur & zugzwang guitars. david sylvian: lyrics, larynx & lumen.

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