Ulla Straus in Three Key Albums

Ulla, formerly known as Ulla Straus, is a Philadelphia-based composer of intricate, resonant ambient music. Since 2016 she has released several critically acclaimed albums. Her latest, Foam, drawn mostly from a palette of piano, guitar, and chopped vocal fragments represents a new and glitchier sound from previous records. She performs together with Rotterdam-based visual artist Nan Wang on Saturday 17 June as part of the Conflux Festival performance program at the Arminius church.

Big Room for Quiet Time Tapes, 2019 – https://quiettimetapes.bandcamp.com/album/big-room 

“Scraped sounds are offset by watery ones, thuds countered by breaths. She can do just as much with two chords as she can with an extremely intricate, arpeggiated chord progression, and does both with an awesome agility,” writes the musician Joshua Eustis from Telefon Tel Aviv, who first encountered this album in a liminal state during a 15-hour flight – and considers this “an artistic triumph both gentle as a napping rabbit and tough as nails.”

Tumbling Towards A Wall, for Experiences Ltd., 2020 – https://ullastraus.bandcamp.com/album/tumbling-towards-a-wall

“Ulla (aka Ulla Straus) likes to tread the outside edge of perception: Her music feels at once tactile, like fistfuls of earth, and immaterial, the stuff of pure shadow,” writes critic Philip Sherburne, who lists Tumbling Towards A Wall as one of his Best Ambient Albums of 2020 for Pitchfork.

Latest release, Foam, for 3XL – https://ullastraus.bandcamp.com/album/foam-2

“This is a barefoot walk over sharp rocks, an arduous journey that can feel purifying in the right mindset and unbearable in the wrong one. But after a while, it becomes easy to get lost in,” says Daniel Bromfield in his review for Resident Advisor.

Commissioned especially for Conflux Festival, Ulla performs in collaboration with Rotterdam-based visual artist Nan Wang presenting Hue Shift at the Arminius church on Saturday. Using DIY projectors and polariscopes, Hue Shift reveals the hidden beauty of refracted light from transparent materials and is a poetic interpretation of the binary system from I Ching hexagrams, perpetually shifting and entirely mesmerising.

Nan Wang is a multi-disciplinary visual artist, her practice focuses on material-based abstract works. She often finds beauty and philosophical meanings in unwanted objects or substances and creates works that revolve around the topic of identity, technology, and social interactions. She uses both digital and analog techniques and her works take the form of interactive projection installations, optical devices, live audiovisual performances, and experimental films.

Check the video of Nan Wang’s Hue Shift performance shot during International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2023:

For more information about Nan Wang, check her website:

For more music of Ulla, check her bandcamp and soundcloud:

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