Jumpel: Deuxième Bureau
Hidden Shoal

Jo Dürbeck's sophomore Jumpel recording, Deuxième Bureau, finds the German minimal electronic producer expanding on the already-expansive sound of the Samuel Jason Lies On The Beach debut. That the second release takes is named after a French military intelligence unit (so named until Germany's invasion of 1940) is neither here nor there, as there's little that suggests the collection's a concept album or anything of that sort. Rather it's twelve-tracks of ambient-dub set-pieces of understated yet still resplendent colour that Dürbeck's created using synthesizers, electric piano, strings, bass, guitar, field sounds, and atmospheric textures. It's also an album of many moods, with dub, dub-techno, ambient, electro-pop, and funk all making appearances during the album's forty-eight-minute reign. If there's one style that's at the core of the Jumpel sound, it's dub-techno albeit dub-techno of a particularly ambient and restrained type. “Knasper” and “Clay State” both exemplify the style, while “Rag Magnetic Flag” is slow dub-techno of a foggier and more hallucinogenic vintage; in like manner, the slow-motion dub foundation in “Leaves” gives Dürbeck room to add subtle dashes of percussive and atmospheric colour. Moving away from that style, “Over About” tackles laid-back, bass-heavy funk using piano, synths, and chicken-scratch guitar, while electric piano and subtle percussive textures dominate the ambient-gamelan of Things Are Different.” On the softer tip, there's a gently haunting dreamscape (“Matter of Time”), an elegiac string-heavy ambient setting (“Dense Dust”), and a hymnal outro filled with seaside birds and spacious piano chords kissed by soft synth flickerings (“The Sea / Friends”). A sense of intoxicating languor suffuses “Considering the Kicker Knows It” while a brooding piano melody breathes through it like cigarette smoke slowly disappearing into the air. A similar spirit of languor and ease pervades the album as a whole, rendering it a scenic yet still relaxing travelogue.

July 2009