Blevin Blectum: Talon Slalom

Dave Heaton

Blevin Blectum

Talon Slalom

Label: Deluxe
US Release Date: 2002-04-30
UK Release Date: 2002-05-13

"Come and take a trip in my rocketship," goes a vocal sample used as a sort-of hook on one track on Talon Slalom, a solo album from Blevin Blectum, one half of the warped electronic duo Blectum From Blechdom. The album is an hour-long trip on the rocketship that is Blevin Blectum's imaginative musical mind. A dizzying swirl of beats, loops, samples and sounds picks you up and steers you through an assortment of moods, from chaotic and dark to pretty and placid. Many of the rhythms and tones of dance music are here, but they carry with them the steely near-impenetrability of the most avant garde sonic art. That mix -- along with the presence of bright, almost video-game-like noises -- gives Talon Slalom a pleasurable complexity. You never know what to expect, but you're always engrossed and ready.

Starting with a track called "Kleasy" that sounds like a ride on some sort of space-age freight elevator, the album's early tracks mix sliced and diced soul, funk and pop bits with sounds like laser beams, cutting knives and odd spoken or sung non-sequitors. As the album proceeds, Blevin delivers all sorts of bizarre varieties of electronic music, including the silent-but-deadly whirrings of "Bright Blood", a short, schizo pop cartoon called "Just the Way You Are" and something called "Preserving Machine #2", which feels like an introduction to an evil robot followed by a trip inside it. As the album continues on towards its end, there's a number of tracks that take gentle, ambient lullabies and coat them with an extra layer of eeriness, like "Tipt on Off Flipped" and "Duck Hunt Cascade".

Pretty much any release by Blectum From Blechdom or its two members (Blevin and Kevin Blectum) will be puzzling, something that will get the mechanics of your brain whirring while you feel the disparate sounds. Talon Slalom is no different, which should be a delightful fact for anyone interested in new or challenging music.

The music on the Talon Slalom album was created for a live performance that sets it to a movie directed and produced by Ryan Junell. Together the film and the music delve into similar themes, though without seeing the whole performance it's hard to say with any certainty what those are. The CD does include a Quicktime excerpt from that film (though I should admit that I couldn't get it to work on my computer), so you can get a taste for what the complete experience would be like. If the film is anything like the music, it's no doubt enigmatic, experimental and well worth experiencing.

In the album's cover art, also designed by Junell, the talons of an unseen bird (or birdlike creature) grab onto the head of a skier, who might or might not be frozen. Talon Slalom the album will captivate listeners and tear their heads off, but they'll be happy afterwards. It's an intoxicating trip.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.