Umlaut is the Melbourne-based project of multi-instrumentalist, Bär McKinnon.
Clinton “Bär” McKinnon grew up in Northern California and began attending Humboldt State University in 1988 where he met Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance. He was soon asked to join the seminal San Francisco outfit, Mr. Bungle and contributed as a player and songwriter, co-writing tunes such as After School Special, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Goodbye Sober Day, and the unreleased Coldsore. He remained with the group until their disbandment in 2004.
After spending years on the international circuit both as a member of Mr.Bungle and an early contributing member of the Secret Chiefs 3, Bär settled in Melbourne in 2002 and went into hibernation, compiling ideas and properly coming into his own as a songwriter.
The result is Umlaut. Playing like a storybook, Umlaut is a seven-piece chamber orchestra group meets quirky pop band. The offbeat tunes fuse saxophone, flute, bassoon, vibraphone and keyboards with more traditional rock guitars – a mix that is eccentric, ephemeral, energetic and beautiful.
An impressive ensemble of musicians have come together to make up the Umlaut roster including Angus Leslie (Sex on Toast, Mamushka), Shane Leiber (An Easier Question), Gareth Thomson, Robert McDonald, Johnny Basson (Sex on Toast) and Olaf Scott (Saskwatch).
In 2009, Umlaut released their self-titled debut album that featured the legendary Mike Patton in collaboration on the track Atlas Face. They have played on bills with Neil Hamburger, Pivixki, The Melvins, Tatsuya Yoshida and Les Claypool.
Umlaut are currently working on a new recording, slated for release in 2012.
Atlas Face official video featuring Mike Patton from Umlaut’s self-titled debut album. Directed by Paul Innes.