Ümlaut

Ümlaut is Jeff Düngfelder, a U.S. electronic music composer who is based in Queens, New York. The thematic concepts distinguishing his work are absence and silence; the ineffable exchange between viewer and image; random moments of stillness within a landscape in flux. The listener sets out on a richly layered journey into the unknown. As Rajneesh once said: “Sit very quietly, and when the scenery shifts, slip between it.”

In The First Wave

With calming spirit, Ümlaut’s new album “In the First Wave” explores the reciprocity of silence and noise. As an atmospheric sound poem, the breathing spaces between sounds, textures and minimal beats are the blank lines. The in-betweens are important elements. As the album unfolds, the listener will begin to discern language in the spaces. The imagination is sparked. The title, “In the First Wave,” references a beginning - whether to time and space, or discovery of a new way of listening. Imagine yourself in a satellite listening station, tuned into the gradually evolving structures of planetary waves.

Regard the album as an electronic shuttle through planetary influences. Imagine. Receive. The mind expands.

Cat: AB087

Release date: May 2019

 

Reviews

  1. Beach Sloth

    “In The First Wave” shows Ümlaut celebrating the small sounds. The glistening production draws from the stripped-down glitch aesthetics of SND, Alva Noto, and other similarly minded musicians yet the sound remains uniquely his own. By incorporating elements of found sound into the mix the songs have a living breathing quality to them. Rhythms are meant to be messed with and they very much are. Allowing everything to simply sprawl further lends the album a sense of the infinite. Usage of rather unusual palettes of white noise, broken samples, and various other sources of hiss ensures that the songs constantly surprise. Outright refusing to be properly pigeonholed Ümlaut crafts an album that feels akin to a grand journey. 

    Hard to pin down is the nebulous opener “In The First Wave”. Fragments of melody and percussion filter into the mix on the strange acid trip of “Without The Formula Of Sound”. Discernible grooves set the tone on the structured exploration of “Pump” which touches upon elements of IDM. Mere wisps of sound emerge out of the near silent “The Momentary Witness”. Love for the surroundings emerges on the gentle lullabies of “The Most Obtuse Objects”. Meditative and highly intimate “Between The Days” opts for a soothing cadence. Field recordings take over on the mystical “An Occasional View”. Crisp percussion ties together the surprisingly poppy “Concluded & begun”. A gorgeous sprawling drone comes into the fray on the closing “Sparkle”. 

    Carefully crafted the ambient bliss of Ümlaut’s “In The First Wave” is emotionally charged and highly intriguing. 

  2. Musique Machine

    Ümlaut is a U.S. electronic project from Queens, New York founded by composer Jeff Düngfelder.  His work appears to be thematically & conceptual focused on the elements of sound and silence, and the random interaction between both. Finding more in the spaces between and expanding on those to help the composition have a more minimalist presentation &  feel.


    In the press release for In The First Wave- it says this new album from Umlaut “explores the reciprocity of silence and noise” and well I think that is only half right- as it really does not contain much actual noise, its more like exploring the reciprocity of silence and tones- we have electronic tones & analogue tones-some short & some longer- but all very calm and soothing, and not really very noisy at all( to me). Sometimes the tones move faster, and the composition becomes more anxious. Sometimes the tones are slower, and things become more serene- it’s fair to say the album very much succeeds in taking the listener off of the canvas and into a different mental space.


    The overall feel of this album is that of simple classic ambient electronica- very minimal beats along with very simple tones generated in looping fashion to create awesome light techno compositions. For me, it seems that this album has lots of influence from Brian Eno’s minimalist works (like the stuff he does for installations) it also reminded me of some of the more relaxed ambient electronica that Arizona project Not Breathing did in the late ’90s. I had a hard time staying awake to listen to this album. So beware if listening at night. it will lull you into slumber and take you away