Record Review: Rumpistol / Red Baron – Floating (2012, Project Mooncircle)

Rumpistol’s most ambitious work, with a full-time singer (Red Baron), is an album of electronically enhanced soul dramaturgy

Genre: IDM / Downtempo / Bass music / Post-dubstep / Glitch

Region: Copenhagen, Denmark / California, USA

Artists Website: http://rumpistol.tumblr.com/

Label: Project Mooncircle

Jens B. Christiansen, aka Rumpistol, has been at the forefronts of experimental electronic music for the last decade or so. His self-titled debut received airplay in John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show. He has also created soundtracks for movies and theater plays like 1936’s Russian silent movie ‘Cosmic Voyage’ commissioned by the Danish Film Institute. However, his most noticeable work as Rumpistol is 2008’s LP ‘Dynamo’, which received the Qwartz Electronic Music Award.

Last year’s ‘Talk To You’ marked a shift towards darker, electro-influenced sounds and use of vocals. Jens Christiansen, in his 4th album explores further that direction by employing LA-based Danish expat singer Red Baron (Deerhoof, Don Bolles, Sonns and The Late Great Fitzcarraldos).

The result is restrained sonic playfulness compared to Rumpistol’s earlier outputs with a focus on bleak atmospheric to assist the soulful vocal delivery of Red Baron.

One can only awe with the work accomplished in the title track: captivating melodies are interweaved with restless rhythmic complexity. Soul and jazz merged with IDM and atmospheric bass music. It could be dubbed as post-dubstep, dut to similarities with acts like James Blake or SBTRKT (less), but I think the term is too narrow since Rumpistol’s sound is firmly rooted in IDM.

In his most ambitious work to date, the songs are “floating” in similar motives throughout the album with soul/R&B vocals, rhythmic innovation and Rumpistol’s trademark bleeps and clicks (’I’m not listening’, ‘Colours Breaking‘ etc. ).

Gravity’ is definitely a standout track, where the duo’s ingenuity is fully showcased as they embark into progressive realms. Rumpistol moves deftly between void and fullness, utilizing even xylophone sounds and retro synths (reminding another duo: ‘Invinsible Allies’) to fit Red Baron’s best vocals. ‘Colours Breaking’ is the most outspoken soul vocal track with a catchy refrain always accompanied by Rumpistol’s electronics.

Dinosaurs’ is an outstanding instrumental track that demands your attention, while the playful subtle sounds come into the fore floating in calm pristine moonlit waters, a gentle yet deep subbass is the underwater makewight.

Rumpistol live

Water Mirrors’ is a successful romantic “house garden” passage to the final track, which is a minimal arrangement where the vocals and subbass kicks are left to shine in their contrast. Red Barron is chanting “The world keeps on turning and it looks like we are not learning.”

There are some downsides in the album, like the unnecessarily filtered vocals which go largely unnoticed (‘Anywhere’, ‘Dinosaurs’) but become irritating in the case of ‘Howie‘, an otherwise consistent ambient track where Rumpistol adds a thin layer of droning distortion.

Floating‘ is an ambitious work of electronically enhanced soul dramaturgy which is principally intimate and introspective. Rumpistol showcases once more his skills in music production with the distinct sensitivity for detail. Though overloaded and complex at times, it is Rumpistol’s most sparsely decorated work which remains subtly impressive.

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Explore similar artists via Freegan Kolektiva:

CHLLNGR – Datter (2012, Time No Place)

Pixelord – Keramika EP (2012, Hit And Hope)

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