Igor – Umf

Posted: 11 August 2020 in Albums
Tags: , , , ,

Lamour Records – 28th August 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Vinyl may continue to make a comeback, but the 7” box set is hardly the format of choice in the second decade of the second millennium. It’s sad in a way, as I very much treasure my special editions of the debut albums by Garbage and The Cooper Temple Clause in that very format, but have to admit, if I’m actually going to listen to either album, I tend not to play these versions.

According to the press bumph, ‘This is actually the original format from 1949, when the record companies demanded a little more from their listeners. At that time they were forced to choose the playing order by stacking the discs on top of each other on the designed gramophone player. Long before today’s playlists. ‘I can’t claim to recall this being an actual thing, but my first record player, a hand-me-down from my parents, was a massive Phillips thing with speeds of 17, 33, 45, and 78. I’ve never yet seen a 17rpm record, but the deck came with a spindle upon which one could stack up to ten 7” singles, which would drop down and play, jukebox style.

Apparently, ‘The box Umf with four vinyls [sic / sick] is a tribute to two major sources of inspiration: the Dadaist Hugo Ball and the German kraut pioneers Cluster. Featuring some sci-fi (crackling movie music from the 50’s) and mixed percussion from Asia (Java, Japan, Korea). Somewhere out on the periphery, Ball and Cluster meet in a common idea: That everything has a sound, and most sounds can be music.

The concept behind this album is that ‘Umf is thus an individual album “at your choise”. It makes some demands. But it can be worth it. A mosaic where each song title gives a hint of how the music sounds: umf, bloiko, olobo, huju, higo, blung, wulla, gorem.’ In other words, an interactive album, where the sequencing is at the listener’s discretion, a sort of ‘choose your own adventure’ book in musical form, or otherwise the vinyl equivalent of shuffle.

Give that the tracks are ambient, fleeting, transitory, and non-linear, and the titles seemingly more sonically descriptive than language-based, this really is a work that gives itself to permutational sequencing, to collaging. Singling out individual ices is, of course, pointless: for the most part, they’re airy, abstract, occasionally, rumblings and laser points interrupt the relatively smooth, formless flow, which at times trickles to almost nothing, and at others grumbles and swells like an intestinal infection that churns and grumbles. It may be understated, but it’s never uninteresting.

AA

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Comments
  1. […] Aural Aggrevation “Singling out individual ices is, of course, pointless: for the most part, they’re airy, abstract, occasionally, rumblings and laser points interrupt the relatively smooth, formless flow, which at times trickles to almost nothing, and at others grumbles and swells like an intestinal infection that churns and grumbles. It may be understated, but it’s never uninteresting.” Read full post at: https://auralaggravation.com/2020/08/11/igor-umf/ […]

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