The second album from SHRUBBN!! displays a map of Europe on its cover, as might be expected from the title.
And it is an old map, a real one, from a time before comprehensive digital measurement – brown, green, red, and somehow easy to place as a landscape.
The map is a kind of dream world consisting of sounds, paths, cities and villages that may no longer exist apart from on this printed map.
It annoys us, no update, and redirects our gaze on the wonderful tableau made up of places and names. The song titles on EUROPA also draw from the inexhaustible riches of the dialects and villages.
From a musical perspective, this record is like an amazing journey through an (old?) Europe that is fed by more than just numbers, tables and statistics.
It is the work of people who do not regard Europe as a delineated, purpose-driven community with lawmakers, regulations, domestic markets and business transactions.
It is not a Europe of banks and consortiums and organized crime, nor a cluster of stereotypes that only emerge in order to dispense with the need to represent complex and interesting differences and fractions.
Unlike its predecessor Echos, which represented something rather hidden and gloomy, from black and white and light and shadow – musically speaking, EUROPA has also clearly changed direction, towards land and people.
Slowly, in cork and copper, in leather and hemp, we are making science fiction, or swordplay, or taking a break, or something else.
All of this glows quite nicely and softly at the end: matt and shadowed rather than shining and bold.
This is exactly how the new album from SHRUBBN!! begins. All the tracks on EUROPA are named after cities that clang: Elk, Hull, Freistritz an der Gail, Valladolid and Anenii Noi.
No sooner are they named than they become utopian places; we have never been to those places, and yet we know them. As taste, smell, sound, or idea.
And here as a song.
If the previous album Echos can be described as a profoundly intense journey through spaces and depths, reverb and shaft, EUROPA warms up like a dream landscape of earth and clay.
The tracks have their own dialects; they are either coming from or traveling to someplace. There are colorations and stories told. On travels.
It makes you want to listen, although you must admit you don’t understand. Only something, in a way, with lightness and pleasure.
01 - ELK
02 - LOM
03 - ESKILSTUNA
04 - VOVCHANS´KI
05 - ÄTHÄRI
06 - ANENII NOI
07 - MONDRAGON
08 - SHUMEN
09 - FREISTRITZ AN DER GAIL
10 - DRUNEN
11 - NÖO
12 - NEA KORONI
13 - HRAFNAGIL
14 - LEIRBOTEN