Umpio is (to my understanding) a fairly well-known Finnish harsh noise one-man unit of Pentti Dassum, who's known from a huge amount of different projects both as a musician and as a sound-engineer. Umpio's first releases date back to 2008, and he's made more than 20 different releases under this name since. Although most of them have been released in very tiny quantities, this one's original pressing was 250 copies, and it's since been re-pressed in the same amount. It comes in neat 7"-size covers, and includes a postcard.

Most of Umpio's works, or at least the ones that I've heard, are characterized by total junk metal-noise, a lot of which is created using the artist's self-made metal instruments - or as he calls them, "junkstruments and "nonstruments." This release features a lot of metal scrap beatings as well, both acoustically and through contact mics and distortion wreckage. The overall sound of the album is loud, clear and surprisingly original, and the balance between distorted and cleaner electric sounds makes sure that there are few to none individual sounds that would stand out as odd or misplaced.

The first eight songs range from a minute to four, and vary from heavy metal-beats and distortion-reliace to other kinds of electronically enhanced noise-loops leading the way. The heavy structures aren't as overwhelming and commanding throughout the album, though, as some more free-form distortion destruction and analogue bleeps, bops and whirring take over the songs every now and then, too.

The songs are very deep and detailed. There's pretty much always something happening within the various layers of the soundscape, which, along with a lot of both tasty and frantic panning effects, make the album very suitable for headphone-listening as well. There's constantly something going on, aside of a few sudden breaks which are there just to give the listener a brief breathing pause. The variation is pretty hectic and even truly surprising at times; the jump from the calm drones and beatbox of "Dobro Man" to the harsh table saw-distortions and more hostile electronics of "True Zirkel" is a great one.

The last song "Kooma I" is a bit different from the bunch. First off, it's quieter, both in style and volume level, and really benefits if you're listening to it through headphones. It relies on subtle bass-notes that are accompanied by minimal drones and rumbles, with only an occasional burst of louder harsh noise screeches tying the song together with the earlier ones. Don't get me wrong here, the track is great, but it's very quiet, subtle and minimalistic when compared with the earlier songs and thus it seems a bit out of place. If there was a full album of this kind of Umpio-noise, I'd definitely be interested in hearing it.

I am very fond of this album, although it's perhaps not as unified as it could be, and its unpredictable and even bipolar (but not aggressive) progression takes some time to get used to. Still, the amount of attention that has clearly been put into making "Junk Electronix Vol. I" and the immense amount of details found on it makes it a long-lasting joy for the ears. I hope the second volume will be made one day!

8½ / 10