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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Solo Alternative Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Amberhaze, "Then We Saw The Stars Again""

Amberhaze is the solo project of an Italian expatriate currently living in Singapore, which seems to be an unexpectedly fertile ground these days for warm electronic music such as this. However, Giulliano Gullotti also exhibits quite a healthy (and well-justified) passion for early ‘90s English shoegaze (which obviously Singapore is not as known for). Despite that substantial temporal and geographic disadvantage, this debut album combines those two loves with a sometimes stunning degree of success.

This album opens in a very odd and counterintuitive way, with a pleasant (but very brief) piano piece that segues into seemingly yet another sparse, melancholy piano piece. That second song, “Blossoms,” slowly begins to build in intensity, however, as a majestic synthesizer melody gradually fades in alongside some bombastic, slow-motion drums. Not much else ends up happening though and I found my interest rapidly waning. Thankfully, Gullotti starts to show some promise with the third track (“The Beat That My Heart Skipped”), which tweaks the formula of the previous track with increased density and exuberantly stumbling, off-kilter drums. It is remarkable how much a difference great drumming can make, especially with sad, slow music like this, which can easily be plodding and dull. Giulliano, as it turns out, is an excellent percussionist. Or at least very good at programming a drum machine.

The near-prefect fifth song (“A Certain Affinity”) was the one that finally grabbed me. Gullotti combines a catchy and propulsive synth pop foundation with an extremely cool, subtly dissonant, and oddly-timed guitar riff, then tops it all off with an endearingly burbling keyboard motif. As it steadily increases in intensity, the guitars grow noisier and the drum machine begins to stutter more and more before it all downshifts into an achingly beautiful bridge. It is difficult to think of a more bittersweetly memorable instrumental pop song, as literally everything is arranged and presented for more maximum impact and emotional power.

Thankfully, that mid-album infusion of momentum hardly dissipates at all for its remainder. While “Affinity” is definitely the best song on the album, nearly everything that follows it is pretty excellent and instantly gratifying. “1994,” which follows immediately afterwards, is similar in epic feel to “Blossoms,” but with a much better groove and infinitely more explosive drumming. “Crush” stands out as yet another killer song, closely resembling a collision between the best elements of Labradford and Slowdive. The wheezing synthesizer, shuffling rhythm section, and lazily gorgeous guitars of “There is a Way” make for yet another clear highlight (though the tortured Swervedriver/MBV-inspired guitar wailing in the middle certainly doesn’t hurt either).

While it is extremely obvious who Amberhaze’s primary influences are, Giulliano definitely combines them in a way that is uniquely his own. I’d love to know what this guy was doing before this, as Gullotti displays immense, fully-formed talent for writing catchy songs and great melodies, as well as great deal of instrumental and orchestration prowess. Then We Saw the Stars Again certainly has some serious faults, but they are largely the result of sequencing faux pas and lax self-editing rather than any lack of skill or vision. At his best, Giulliano Gullotti has no trouble standing with all the great bands that inspired him.

- Anthony D'Amico -


It's not often you get a chance to hear music from Singapore, and this isn't what you might expect. Their debut ep announces Amberhaze as architects of the heavenly dirge, with lead track 'Birds Eye' being a perfect example. An electric piano cautiously and meticulously plots the principle motif, as if to miss a note would cause the world to implode. The theme is then repeated ad infinitum, well for the remainder of the track at least, as layers are added to build the atmosphere; a cicada-mimicking hi-hat, then a plodding drum beat, dissonant voices, desolate guitar swathed in reverb, and finally a distorted lead, the intensity of each increasing to the tracks conclusion. Post rock by numbers, basically.

'Beautiful Design' piques the interest further with the inclusion of vocals, one being a very distinctive and understated female contribution (presumably from the one they call Joanne) the other a male voice reduced to a semi-whisper that will either seduce or unnerve. Together they perform the loosest of duets over another post rockian collage, imagining a narcotic fuelled collaboration between Mogwai and The Delgado's. The duetting continues into 'Welcome', backed by a nagging electronic rhythm, grand piano and wah wah-ed guitar, only this time the whisper is even more pronounced, and the frail, cracked harmonies will either endear or grate.

'Can You Hear Us' is a dreamy instrumental that is notable out for its heavy use of synths, simulated strings in particular, singling it out as the most original track on offer. Finally, the vocals make a return for 'Faith in Numbers', a song that in another life could be a pleasantly hazy reworking of Bloc Party's 'Compliments'. This release may not offer anything new but it does indicate that post rock is the same the world over, and that Amberhaze are worthy exponents.

- Richard Stoke,

"Il dolce minimalismo post- di Amberhaze"


Amberhaze è la sigla dietro la quale si cela il solo Giuliano Gullotti, polistrumentista italiano emigrato qualche anno fa a Singapore. Nelle cinque tracce di questo mini Cd completamente autoprodotto, caratterizzate da un elegante minimalismo, regnano piacevoli atmosfere degne di un impossibile, accogliente paradiso post-atomico, mentre solo talvolta si assiste a drammatici decorsi all'insegna di un pathos romantico-classicheggiante.

La presenza dietro il microfono di Giuliano è alquanto discreta: più che cantare accompagna i suoi gentili suoni come a volersi mimetizzare tra di essi. Il gioiellino dell'Ep è posto in apertura: Bird's Eye è una strumentale che prende in prestito alcuni elementi dal sad-core (le ritmiche narcolettiche, i gesti indolenti alla chitarra), ricoprendolo di una sottile veste pulviscolare di matrice cosmica.

Beautiful Design è arricchita dal cantato sobrio di Joanne Leow, consorte di Mr. Amberhaze. La traccia è probabilmente ancora più mesta di quella precedente, addirittura straziante quando giunge al liberatorio finale, in cui vengono inseriti taglienti pattern batteristici e pesanti, disperati accordi di pianoforte che artigliano la musica facendola scivolare dentro uno sconfortante incubo spaziale.

Si intravede una forte passione per artisti come Radiohead, Sigur Ròs, Sebastien Schuller o Mogwai, o se vogliamo anche un vago interesse per il classico suono 4AD, ma le formule utilizzate riescono ad essere vincenti senza scadere nella banale imitazione o nel poco ispirato e inorganico assemblaggio delle diverse influenze.

Welcome, Can You Hear Us e Faith In Numbers sono meno "tragiche" delle altre tracce e presentano toni certamente più rilassati. L'ultima in particolare emoziona per la brillante sovrapposizione di tappeti e vagiti di tastiere incantate, peccato che assomigli troppo a Compliments dei Bloc Party.

Un ottimo biglietto da visita per questo misterioso e schivo newborn dell'underground musicale.

- Luca Morello. -

"When Words Just Won't Do"

How reliant we, as a human species, are on words to express our thoughts and feelings. And how sneaky we can be too by using words to mask our truest, deepest emotions. But that existential conundrum is jettisoned once we get into instrumentals. Without words, all we have to depend on is music and its eloquent dips and rises.

... Singapore-based Italian musician Giuliano Gullotti undergoes more obvious emotional highs and lows in his full-length debut as Amberhaze... like O'Rourke, he is an outsider newly transplanted to an Asian country. Unlike O'Rourke, he is married, has two kids and works as a lecturer. Then We Saw The Stars Again, named after a line from the epic 14th-century poem Divine Comedy by Dante, is a personal documentation of recent dramatic changes, "a diary without words".

Working with piano, guitar and an Apple computer, he melds the organic and the electronic to invoke an impression in 12 episodes. He could be as languid and tentative as O'Rourke, as in Then, where the glacial, then gingerly pace suggests some changes is on the horizon. But what it is, we have no idea yet.

He could also be on the edge, as in The Beat My Heart Skipped, an eye-popping amalgam of beatific Sigur Ros post-rock symphony and Radiohead's jerky, percussion-driven dynamics. (The song title is filched from the 2005 French film of the same name, about a small-time criminal who wants to turn over a new leaf by becoming a concert pianist.) Another gem is December, which alludes to Bjork's volcanic marriage of orchestral classicism and stuttering, sputtering electronics circa 1997's Homogenic album, where old and new worlds collide and form a new startling one.

Switching between stellar wonder and dizzying danger, Gullotti manages to dig deep into one's private recesses without being overtly confessional.

A wordless revelation.

- Yeow Kai Chai, The Straits Times, Sept 18 2009 - The Straits Times, Singapore

"Amberhaze "Then We Saw The Stars Again" 6.5/10"

Giuliano Gullotti (Amberhaze) describes his music as “equal parts shoegaze, post-rock and electronica.” The description is accurate. All three components are present in nearly-equal quantities. Mix them together, and what do we get? An amber haze of pleasant sonics, which makes the moniker apt.

Then We Saw the Stars Again is so smooth that it stands up well to repeated listens, lounging in the background with stretched legs and a mixed drink. On the other hand, the sonics fail to surge, pop, or command attention. "What did I just hear?" one may ask. "I'll have to play it again." Albums such as this are rarer than one might think; some crash and burn due to a lack of flow, while others sink and drown due to blandness. The only jarring moment is a poor transition between the third and fourth tracks; and, even though patterns do repeat within songs, they do so in an endearing fashion. One might surmise that Gullotti has been influenced by fatherhood – his last release, the Newborn EP, celebrated the birth of his second son – as the album is decorated with lullaby tones, and there’s nothing here that would wake the baby.

Will this attract the common listener? It’s hard to say. Everything here is done well, with a slight throwback tinge: the drum programming and shoegaze guitars are byproducts of the 80’s/early 90’s sound, while the post-rock aspect is decidedly retro. One can hear the ghosts of other groups in the mix:New Order, Postal Service, My Bloody Valentine. The proceedings come across as humble offerings rather than haughty ambition, and their familiarity is comforting. Perhaps the best audience for this release would be those who miss the sounds of their youth and yearn to hear them respectfully updated.

The album’s most endearing quality is that Gullotti makes everything seem so easy. He’s comfortable using the post-rock formula, which starts with light strumming (found on “When you Sleep”) and ends with shimmer and build (“Blossoms”). However, Gullotti is not making post-rock music; he’s borrowing from the template. The same is true for the electronic and shoegaze aspects. “A Certain Affinity” cuts and pastes the drum programming from a bygone era to a modern schematic, while “1994” welds whispered shoegaze vocals to post-rock drums. “Selva Oscura” may be piano-centric, but its utilization of laptop beats dusts it with contemporary elegance, and “Crush” blends it all together.

Could it be that the music we love has become so textbook that it is easy to emulate, or could Gullotti be onto something here? I prefer to think the latter. The eight-minute “There is a Way,” which flows so convincingly throughout, makes me believe that the artist knows what he’s doing. The piece ebbs, flows, swirls, distributes its instrumentation evenly throughout, and makes wise use of electronic hand claps. While I typically prefer the new and exciting, the craftsmanship displayed on this album, and especially on this highlight track, leads me to believe that Gullotti could and one day may take a stab at future music, but for now he’s content to live in the moment.

-Richard Allen - The Silent Ballet

" Amberhaze, Then We Saw The Stars Again"

The major label A&R: „Man, I'm really digging your debut album. Hasn't left my stereo for weeks. This romantic touch you have caters perfectly to the current craze about Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Múm - or every other ethereal Neo-Classical Icelandic Chamber-Pop ensemble for that matter. At the same time, you have this potent Rock sound, terrific crossover potential, I'm telling ya. I even ran it through this new hit-prediction Software and it's telling me we've got a winner here. Asked my secretary to draw up a little contract straight away. Before we get to business, though, there's something really important I need to tell you. Not trying to interfere with your creative process here. But as an Italian project from Singapore, I really feel you should make use of your exotic descent. Just spice it up with some tabla grooves, you know, or include a sitar in the mix. Hasn't failed me once. We want to shoot some stylish Promo-pics as well. So where's the other guys of the band?“

The Club Booker: „So I've been hearing about you. People telling me that your record already has a powerful and direct live sound to it and I can't say I disagree. There's this huge ballad-like anthem right in the middle of the album, what's it called again? „1994“, that's right. Not the best of titles, but who cares. What matters is: It works: Massive, majestic drums and an 80s-Pomp-Staccato-Synthesizer-Riff that you can't get out of your head for days. That's the kind of tune people want to hear when they're in a club. What people don't want to hear when they're in a club, though, are these quirky Electronica-tracks that sound like your CD-player's skipping while you're listening to some old Ambient-albums – and unfortunately you have some of those on your album, too. And they sure don't want to listen to that classical stuff either. There are other people for that, Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Múm - or every other ethereal Neo-Classical Icelandic Chamber-Pop ensemble for that matter. I know this may sound harsh, but if you want to make it big out there, you gotta rock. So hit that stage and kick some ass!“

The Radio-DJ: „I get sent so much stuff, I don't even remember which demo yours was. Oh, you're that Italian guy who lives in Singapore and writes these instrumental songs with romantic titles like „Crush“, „You are here“ or „There is a Way“. Very nice album, really. Can't say anything unkind about it. Some melancholic Piano, big, epic tunes. Some almost Folk-ish pieces in there as well. My favourite's „When you Sleep“, with that deep, autumnal Guitar-lick and those dabbers of Vibes and a delicate drone in the back. Yes, I would definitely recommend „Then we saw the Stars again“ to my friends, as a matter of fact I was just telling a colleague of mine about it. Will I play it on my show? Well, you see, the problem is this: There are no vocals so I really can't see it fitting into any of our more mainstream programs. And for our more experimental outfits it seems slightly too melodic. Post-Pop rather than Post-Rock if you ask me. And that Synthesizer-Riff in „1994“ is really out of date. But those classical passages were very nice. Made me think of Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Múm – and a couple of other ethereal Neo-Classical Icelandic Chamber-Pop ensembles for that matter.“

Tobias: „Listening to the album made me understand what people mean when they're claiming that music is an emotional language: I don't see a filter between your art and your real-life persona at all. This record is relentlessly romantic, unashamedly harmonic and yet moody at the same time and it conveys a plethora of different feelings. Some of them are contradictory, but that's the way it is when you turn your inside out. A lot of Post-Rock-bands have sounded aggressive, anthemic and tender this year. But not many have managed to bring out the myriads of nuances between these poles like you have. Your track titles and Pop-allusions and even that 80s Synthesizer-Riff on „1994“ all feel strangely organic. And if those classical allusions should lead to comparisons with people like Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Múm: Don't worry. There are worse references than them.“

By Tobias Fischer -


'newborn' CDEP - self released Oct 2007

'Crush' single - free digital single August 2008

'There is a way' - free digital single December 2008

'Then We Saw The Stars Again' CDLP - KittyWu Records KWR006 Sep 2009


Radio Airplay:
'Bird's Eye' - Unpopular Radio
'A Certain Affinity' - Unpopular Radio
'Crush' - Unpopular Radio
'The Beat My Heart Skipped' - Far Past Post Radio
'A Certain Affinity' - "Tom Robinson Introducing..." BBC Radio 6 Music, Oct 2008
'A Certain Affinity' - Radio NU107, Manila, Philippines



Amberhaze is Giuliano Gullottis long-standing solo project . Secretly aspiring to be a music conductor since the age of three and after years of playing in bands all over the world, the Italian multi-instrumentalist found himself in Singapore, and in 2006 decided to take on the Singapore scene under the moniker Amberhaze, home-recording and self-releasing his first collection of songs, the newborn EP. Then We Saw The Stars Again, Amberhazes full-length debut, was released to critical acclaim in Singapore in September 2009 on Singapore independent label KittyWu Records.

Now based in Toronto, Canada, Amberhaze is still keeping true to its bedroom aesthetics, while expanding his soundscapes from Singapore to the relentless energy of the Canadian city.

Equal parts shoegaze, post-rock and electronica, Amberhaze blends warm textured layers with simple, candid melodies. Giulianos music is a sound in constant evolution, a process towards which he lets experimentation and trial-and-error lead the way. Amberhazes compositions have been described as unfurling unexpected glimpses of beauty; relentlessly romantic, unashamedly harmonic and yet moody at the same time and conveying a plethora of different feelings.

On the live performance spectrum of Amberhaze, the last three years saw warmly received performances at Singapores largest independent music festival Baybeats, commissioned works from Singapores art and cultural centre, Esplanade Theatres On The Bay, and several intimate shows around Singapore, including opening for American instrumental duo Lymbyc Systym and Japanese quartet LITE for their first ever Singapore show. Overseas performances include Kuala Lumpur (opening for Japanese jazz-tinged instrumental rockers toe ) and the week long mini-festival A*Fest in Manila, Philippines.

2011 sees Amberhaze sinking new roots in Toronto, with his debut Canadian appearance at the prominent Canadian Music Festival 2011, and a new album in the works.