Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the project of guitarist and songwriter Ruban Nielson, has been releasing a long instrumental song on Christmas Day since 2013. The latest instalment, ‘SB-09’, is out now and features Nielson on guitar and his brother, Kody, on drums.
‘SB-09’ has a total runtime of 18 minutes and 43 seconds. The first half consists of solo guitar in the style of Durutti Column. It breaks down halfway through to include a recording of two people in conversation, joined by a barking dog. When the music returns, the guitar is paired with drums and a reggae-rock vibe supplants the repose of the early section.
Laughing voices enter around the 12 minute mark, set above droning ambient electronics that carry through until the song’s conclusion. The track climaxes with a snippet of someone singing a Christmas song.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra released the singles ‘That Life’ and ‘Weekend Run’ in 2021. Nielson shared a statement alongside the release of ‘Weekend Run’, saying: “I don’t take for granted that I have the perfect job—I truly work to make music that will set someone’s day right.”
The band’s most recent album was the instrumental experimental jazz LP, IC-01, which came out in October 2018. UMO’s latest song-oriented album, Sex & Food, came out in April of that year. Listen to ‘SB-09’ below.