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Blevin Blectum - Talon Slalom

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Artist: Blevin Blectum

Album: Talon Slalom

Label: Deluxe

Review date: Jun. 11, 2002

Given the endless autonomy offered to the electronic artist as a result of the laptop’s re-imagining as “music recorder, sampler and playback device,” it’s no wonder so few of today’s experimentally minded electronic artists opt to work in groups. The ease with which music can be created inspires a very hermit-like response in the individual. The impulse is to withdraw completely into a self-constructed world of deconstructed sound. Of course, there are those (like Matmos and Blectum from Blechdom) who manage to form fruitful alliances and, in spite of the norm, succeed in cohabiting a single sonic space. But even within these alliances, the tendency is still toward unification. The finest example of this idea is exhibited by the Blechdoms, who (as part of their live show), wear a sort of Siamese jumpsuit, which acts to conjoin the two in what Blevin Blectum describes as, “one continual blectile blob!” As alluring as this concept may seem at first, it’s understandable that the Blechdoms would eventually wish to detach themselves from the encumbering blectile and set out on their own to reclaim or in Blevin’s case, create their own identity.

On her second solo-release (the first coming under the moniker D84 on Phthalo Records), Talon Slalom, Blevin Blectum manages to create a new sonic persona, while maintaining the more intriguing portions of her existing one. Although neither of the Blechdom’s music will ever be mistaken for “mature”, Talon Slalom does imply major growth. The rhythms are tauter, the self-deprecation (less self-deprecating) and the ratio of interesting ideas – in respect to their logical conclusions – are much higher. The defining characteristic of the music still remains decidedly wacky. The prevailing mood (or in this case, moods), still, wildly idiosyncratic.

Overall, the affect of the album is dizzying, as it establishes and then quickly abandons so many ideas. You search for a means of approach, a hint to what may lie ahead but none is ever revealed. The only constant remains Blevin’s love affair with fissure and disjointed structures, which reaches new and absurd heights on the criminally insane, “Saturnray” and “The Way the Cookie Crumbles Straight From The Horse’s Mouth". The neurotic ticks of digital noise that infect “Upright Locked Down” makes it" the true test of the album. If you can weather “Locked Down”, the remainder of the album promises to be the most sophisticated music ever recorded by a Blechdom. As the withered landscape of, “Tipt On Off Flipped” evolves into the haunting organ loop and gear-slipping beats of “Merry SXMS To All”, you feel something begin to take hold in your guts and in your heart and you think – maybe, just maybe – you’re going to feel something beyond the expected jolts and apocalyptic squall of digital noise. But in the end, you’re left subject to the irregularities of Blevin’s mental state. You stare – half-amazed, half-confounded – as Blevin glares back at you maniacally while holding her laptop over a fire, melting MSP patches and sound files into the charred remains of a primitive and malfunctioning dance music; a dance music that belongs as much to the future, as it does the past.

By John Yandrasits

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