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Ümlaut - Insight [Audiobulb - 2020]

Ümlaut is the sound-art project of the New York resident musician/artist Jeff Düngfelder, and  here Audiobulb Records presents his new album Insight with the following statement: 'an inner journey of the self through the universe of sound'. A steep thesis!

To write this review, I had to take a little more time to notice all the fine and interesting nuances of the individual pieces when listening to the album.  I liked the dynamics of the individual elements and how they diffuse into a whole. Perhaps one or the other sequence is a little bit too "lengthy", but that's probably a matter of taste.

Insight takes its time and unfolds through its (perhaps coincidentally) arpeggiated microsound textures and the gentle melodies in the background. In fact, the arpeggio dominates, creating an ambience of versatile sound design and making the music very lively.

In terms of composition, each individual piece goes through several different passages. These range from overlapping electro-acoustic textures and simple loops, to subdued synthetic tones and layers, to fine percussive electronics. Also interesting field recordings and mysterious ambient sounds interweave the fine melodies with rougher industrial rhythms. The element of coincidence probably also plays a big role in this. Even the silence is used to melt the pieces of the album into a hypnotic and surprisingly dynamic, easy listening soundscape. And although it all sounds very digital and sometimes slips into the “glitchy” territory , though Ümlaut does it beautifully.


Insight is significantly more than a pure ambient album, because Jeff Düngfelder does not simply try to electronically process its synthesizer sounds and manipulated field recordings into a sound carpet according to the tried-and-tested recipe, but instead works with the acoustic procurement within his compositions. As a result, Insight steps in many other music genres in its definition and will also be interesting for a broader, music-interested audience.

With his 2019 work Musique De Film, Ümlaut had already created a very beautiful audio landscape with his randomly arranged, weightless sounds. Insight  continues this concept, albeit in a different way. Give it a listening!

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Jan Warnke
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