Jumpel – Europa

Jumpel - Europa

Jumpel’s third album Europa is somewhat of a concept album. Inspired by Jo Dürbeck’s (a.k.a. Jumpel) journeys across Europe, he explores the essence of various cities through minimalist electronic soundscapes. Having never traveled through Europe, I can’t tell if he succeeds in capturing the mood of each location, but I can tell you that Europa is a somewhat of a frustrating listen as it wobbles back and forth between melodic and dreamy ambient and unsettled and fuzzy electronica.

Cultivating in obvious references from kraut-rock electronic experimentalists Cluster and Sankt Otten, Jumpel’s ambient electronic pieces are bolstered by looped beats, samples, found sounds and multi-textured keyboard tones that mostly develop tunefully with occasional mis-steps provided by seemingly random electronic blips and bleeps wrapped in fuzzy static.

In keeping with the album’s concept, each song is distinct and succinct with it’s own slithery rhythm pattern and eccentric swirl of interloping melodic accents that tend to find somewhat of groove to settle into, or ride for a short time, before being washed away in a current of electronic textures.

The exception being the wonderfully hypnotic “Edinburgh”. With guest vocals by Chloë March and a richer atmosphere, the cinematic composition comes close to the compelling trip-hop of Massive Attack.

Although Jumpel’s atmospheric pieces contain elements of the sublime and the ethereal, they are counterbalanced by jittery beats and shaggy experimental sound effects that shift between mood and style, creating some tedious moments while never quite blossoming into gorgeous and melodic ambient.

Hidden Shoal Recordings