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Rumpistol - Going Inside

Review

Going Inside by Rumpistol

Musical therapy

I was sceptical that Jens B. Christiansen would top his last album (Isola) but he's come very close with Going Inside, the third part in his therapeutic piano trilogy. The first installment, 2020's After the Flood, signalled a new way of working for the Danish musician and composer who was dealing with severe stress-related burnout from staring at a computer screen for hours every day. With less focus on computers and more on live instrumentation, Christiansen started composing on the piano instead.

While the piano features prominently on all three albums, the variety of instrumentation (harp, violin, cello, flute, würlitzer, lap steel guitar, synths, bass, drums and vocals) reaches beyond the realms of Neoclassical; there's even a Cristal Baschet on Going Inside. There's also more of a concept behind the twelve tracks here. In three phases, first "Ascent", followed by "Peak" and finally "Descent", the orchestrated flow of deeply emotional music, references a form of psychedelic therapy as an aid to mental health (think of using MDMA, ibogaine and psilocybin for those dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety and addiction). As part of his work on this album he also developed the Copenhagen Music Program in conjunction with the Rigshospitalet.

Appreciating the separate phases, in terms of a musical arc, is not obvious though, as the music remains fairly low-key and easy-listening throughout, but the idea lends a clarity to the subject; the process of being open to a new therapy, 'going inside' oneself, confronting challenges and transcending to a safer, more stable place. Key moments seem to include vocals, like Stine Grøn on d d d O b b b, capturing that moment of self-realisation in the Descent phase or, my favourite, Let Go, which reminds me of Beth Gibbons on (Portishead track) The Rip. Surrender near the end, featuring a back-and-forth play between violin and steel guitar, is sublime. And the violin, which features on a few tracks like Now and Trust, brings a hint of Celtic charm (which appeals to me as a Scotsman) - the latter track proving to be the most rousing, upbeat track on the album as the vocal oohs and aahs build with violin, harp and guitar.

Christiansen's personal development as an artist, going from an electronic music standpoint with his eponymous debut album in 2003 to Going Inside today, demonstrates an extraordinary talent for composition, but the key takeaway here is melody; this man knows how to write seductive and alluring melody.

If you only listen to one track

“Let Go” - Plateau

Label

Raske Plader

Artist website

Rumpistol

Release date

29 Sep 2023

Tracklist

  1. “Remember” - Opening
  2. “Be Here” - Onset
  3. “Now” - Build To Peak
  4. “Trust” - Going Inside
  5. “b b b O d d d“  - Confrontation & Surrender
  6. “Let Go” - Plateau
  7. “Be Open” - Transcendence
  8. “The Way Out” - Emotional Release
  9. “d d d O b b b” - Reflection & Integration
  10. “Is in”- Acceptance & Relief
  11. “Surrender” - Celebration
  12. “To Love” - Landing & Return
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