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Net Feature/ Liquid Level: "Redemption LP"

img  Tobias
It is by no means a revelation that intelligent dub is being written and produced all around the globe. But who’d have thought that Zagreb would be home to one of the smartest and spaciest voices? And yet, the voice of Juraj Stumberger demands to be heard.

With credits from Thinner to Inoquo already to his name and simultaneously operating under three different project names, Stumberger has seemingly effortlessly conquered the netlabel world. It has certainly been of help to his warm and echo-filled cruisade that his experience extends way back into the past and into the realms of EBM, techno and breakbeat. His list of personal influences, meanwhile, reads like a who’s who in electronic music of the last decades (from Klaus Schulze to Aphex Twin), progressive Rock (Dream Theatre) and the most diverse forms of cinema (Dario Argento to Tarkovski).

What makes “Redemption” interesting, though, is not the mere fact that Liquid Level deals with various influences, but the remarkable talent of Juraj Stumberger in welding them together into a coherent unified style, which nonetheless allows individual branches to stick out. Opener “Curse”, for example, is pure Dubhouse, dreamily penetrated by layers of crackle, clicks and creamy cuts, while the minor chord progressions and softly pusing syncopations of “Dark Voices” harken back to Jean Michel Jarre’s 70s classic “Equinoxe”.

Throughout, Stumberger does not treat melody like a gimmick, but uses it to lend a weightless touch to his pieces. Gradual nonlinear development, too, is preferred above simple repetition. It is this respect to musical craftmanship and a playful approach to arrangement which makes his tracks stand out from being nothing more than skillfully realised cover versions.

In the at first unimposing “I’m the Truth”, all ingredients flow together: Oldschool Synthie-Pop drums, thematic sequencer patterns, deep organ impulses, trunkated voice samples blending in with the texture of the music and dub echoes hauntingly humming from far away. Liquid Level is still in a nascent state, but Juraj Stumberger should soon have more ears turned towards Croatia.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Juraj Stumberger/Liquid Level
Homepage: Deep in Dub Netlabel

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