June 9, 2008

Martin Bladh “Umbilical Cords” CD

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 8:40 pm


This is the first solo outing from Martin Bladh of Swedish experimental noise outfit IRM, consisting of four tracks (“Cord 1” through “Cord 4”) that range in length and result in an extremely compact and tasteful 36 minutes of material. “Cord 1” is made up of 12 minutes of dismal scrapings and brooding low-end swells, some of which sounds sort of like deeply pitch-shifted and manipulated cello or other such instrumentation with smatterings of glazed cymbals, though the end result isn’t particularly musical or what have you. The amount of layering ebbs and flows throughout the track, with certain elements feeling more abstract as opposed to rhythmic or droning. This leads straight into the similar “Cord 2”, which opens with some grating string scraping over more pulsing synths and lightly melodic undercurrents that slither in and out of the distance for nearly five minutes. “Cord 3” is the longest track at 14 minutes and makes for a bit of a shift, as the transition from “Cord 2” drops off to a quieter and more subdued ambient swell that builds back in gradually and remains steadfast in tone. There’s a lightly distorted hum in the distance that plays a significant role in adding a different touch to this piece, with the brighter swells that float to the surface carrying some sort of a grinding metallic edge to them (though this is a relatively smooth piece, it’s not something that gets very loud or aggressive at all). Towards the final moments of the piece a crackling recording of a strummed chord progression and distant singing start to fade in to bring things to a close, but I can’t make out what the vocals are saying (which may or may not be in English). “Cord 4” is then the only track that starts up immediately without any sort of lead-in from the prior selection, taking a darker and more menacing road right away with a focus on bleak low-end and some of the distorted types of sounds from “Cord 3”. This is another persistent piece, though definitely my favorite overall, as it’s the most abstract and sinister of the bunch. The disc is handsomely packaged in a glossy digipack with very little text or visuals, sans a few photos of Bladh and a small painting that looks rather curious (and was apparently made with oil paints, blood, and bandages). A few striking quotes also offer some insight as to the inspiration of the work, such as, “I am stigmatized by a living death in which real death holds no terror for me” (Antonin Artaud). All in all this is a nice little disc that flows well from start to finish and creates a moving atmosphere over its well controlled course of time. The sound quality is perfectly fluid and resonant for what the textures have to offer, and I’m quite pleased with the overall aesthetic of the disc. This one should apply for dark ambient fans as well as a larger base of experimental noise listeners who should appreciate the creative uses of instrumentation to generate sound. Nicely done. (7/10)
Running time – 35:54, Tracks: 4

Segerhuva – http://www.segerhuva.se

this review first appeared on aversionline

One Response to “Martin Bladh “Umbilical Cords” CD”

  1. kagablog » “qualis artifex pereo” Says:

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