Danish electronic artist Rumpistol, aka Jens B. Christiansen, releases his fourth and most outgoing album yet – Floating – a collaboration with LA based vocalist Red Baron that further explores the post dub-step vocal territories opened up on last year’s Talk To You EP. With tighter song structures, intimate lyrics and the Baron’s ecstatic vocal projections, the two create a parallel world in which the domestic breakdowns of wintry Copenhagen are filtered through sun-bleached Californian dreams, creating a robotic and hypnagogic hybrid of soul. The sound, while still recognizably “Rumpistol” in its organic instabilities of clicks and gurgles, marks an evolution in Christiansen’s thinking, breaking surreal light on the interior landscapes of existential crisis and bliss he’s been essaying over the last ten years. If it were a film it would reject the handheld realism of the Dogme movement for the painterly otherworldliness of Von Trier’s “Melancholia”.
The introduction of Red Baron does a great deal to carry this forward. Many of the tracks were written in collaboration with the elusive vocalist in a process whereby phrases were improvised over music until melodies were discovered and lyrical meaning reattached. The Baron’s heavily processed voice, hovering between male and female timbres, serves to both escape and amplify the realities of life. It’s through the Baron’s influence that ghost of Los Angeles finds itself here too, whether in the field recordings that frame the album in Water Mirror and Silver Lake or in the vocal styles that ride the beats throughout.
In this way Grace Jones stands tall in a frozen stream on I’m Not Listening, Lil Wayne pushes his rusty bicycle through the blizzard of Floating and Lionel Richie gets stuck in traffic (on a bad trip) in Colors Breaking. But as the frozen arpeggiated synths let you know, the album is more about the future than any past, a future where Rumpistol and Red Baron dare to take current genres from the post dub-step and wonky scenes and defy them with the human voice for a dystopic soul music of their own.