Blevin Blectum
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Blevin Blectum

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"Gular Flutter"
Aagoo, 2008

Breaking a four year silence with her strongest album to date, Blevin Blectum's "Gular Flutter" confirms her gift for making electronic music that is allergic to cliche. Blectum's new songs throb with swarms of transient surface details, but they never come off as haphazard. Asked about her title, Blevin notes that "Gular fluttering is the pulsation of the upper esophagus in some species of birds in response to heat-stress," an oblique reference from avian anatomy that stems from her recently completed training as a veterinary technician. It's a title that perfectly captures the mysteriously organic shifts that pulsate across this heavily processed music.

The album starts with a "first" for Blevin: "Real Live Escargot" features vocals from Blevin herself as she "covers" a song by mysterious Alabama outsider songwriter Fred Lane, producing something as ghostly and splattered as its original. "Cygnet" bursts into action, as martial drum rolls and distant horns bend and recombine around keening runs of strings in a manner that cops moves from Middle Eastern music and darkstep jungle but takes them in a wholly other direction (happily, Blevin's background as a classically trained violinist does more hovering than smothering in the midst of such delicate maneuvers). "Foyer Fire" keeps things bumping with a stomping kick and a lasertag maze of chirping synth patterns, and "Mine" further pushes the chipmunk-voxed pitch-tweeking speedlimit. Blevin has said that "99% of my music is about trying to keep your head above water", and that mixture of liquidity, dread and endurance is at the heart of one of the album's highpoints, "Flowers Fade Fast". Hopscotching between celestial autoharp strums and some truly oblique transformations of a kids song by Jim Copp and Ed Brown, it's a wildly disorienting piece of nostalgic futurist sound-design.<p>
Featuring original cover art by noted writer China Mieville and enhanced with video clips by video artists Jesse S. Clark and (Sagan alum) Ryan Junell, the album is bracketed with a climactic final bonus track, "Avian Enamel" which began as a remix of Bay Area band Ellul. Threading field recordings and conversation across a lattice of tightly edited rhythm, this tricksy, elastic assemblage provides an an emphatic final ending to an album that demonstrates just how personal, brave and autonomous electronic music can still be. Some things are worth waiting for.

- Drew Daniel, 2/16/2008 - VagueTerrain


Gular Flutter 7.8
During their brief career together, Blevin Blectum and Kevin Blechdom made experimental music with a gleeful, wicked sense of humor. When the duo went to the Ars Electronica summit in 2001, other artists made snide comments about two classically trained musicians at the conference. The women took the academic (and perhaps a little misogynistic) sneering in stride, and their LP, The Messy Jesse Fiesta, snatched second place at the Digital Musics competition. Then they broke up. Parting drove them in unexpected directions: Blechdom moved to Berlin, started writing banjo music, singing live over MIDI, and spreading animal guts on her body as the grand finale of her shows. Blectum moved to San Fransisco, put out solo records, collaborated with other artists, and studied veterinary science. Listening to their latest LPs now, it's hard to believe that Blectum and Blechdom used to be so close that, well, they took essentially the same last name. Or that they used to perform, as the brilliant and ridiculous Blectum From Blechdom, in a custom-made costume that bound them together.

Gular Flutter, Blectum's first album in four years, is as indebted to her veterinary studies as it is to her collaboration with Blechdom. The title refers to a part of a bird's throat (ornithology is Blectum's area of specialization), but it's easy to locate animal metaphors all over. Every song has its flutters and tics. Blectum shaves beats so razor thin that they lose their bass-ness and become another light, feathery wafer to stack and arrange. She's clinical in her song-making: Every sound, from fuzzy poofs of static to 8-bit bleeps to the reversed violin (Blectum is classically trained), gets examined under her microscope. Each instrument resides in its own glass case, ready for inspection. On "Cygnet" (that's what you call a young swan), eastern drumming and reversed violin go silent every few seconds, as if the song were resetting itself and asking you to choose which passage you prefer. Bird sounds bookend "Mine", but it's the next song, "Flowers Fade Fast", that is truly bestial, at turns vulgar and writhing, and in that way closer to Blectum From Blechdom than the rest of Gular Flutter. Phantom samples seem to drift through the background of "Retrice", whose minute stereo pans require almost total silence to discern.

Blectum also uses her voice here, and though it's not the plaintive, dare-to-hate-me bellow of Blechdom, its nakedness is compelling. "Mine" and "Squeezed" feel a little more fun, and the slight soul vocal that touches down on the latter loosens Blectum's tight reins. Her voice, along with the violins and contemporary classical passages, give the album a more human feeling. But it's not the human you want more of-- it's the animal-- and occasionally it would be better if Blectum flicked away a few grains of electron detritus and wilded out.

— Jessica Suarez, October 13, 2008 - Pitchfork


Artist: Blevin Blectum
Album: Magic Maple
Label: Praemedia
Review date: Mar. 30, 2005

Simply put, Blevin Blectum’s third solo record, Magic Maple, is astonishing. Blectum’s style of seamless electronica works from the basis of circular melodies, ephemeral sonics and slippery glitches to heighten the stakes in a genre incessantly in re-inventive flux.

The somnambulant drip of “Benadrilled and taking on water,” slips Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” under a mischievous Stalling-esque quilt of percolating dial tones, spiraling keys and music box naivety to craft something that operates in a locus between Carpet Musics’ Audio Dregs releases and Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygen and Zoolook albums. Other pieces show Blectum to have more in common with Futurist Luigi Russolo than Russia’s DJ Vadim – for all of Blectum’s hyperactive gesturing, the music is never derailed, even if it’s constantly on the brink of falling head-over-heels into chaos.

Maple’s density makes repeated listens not only seemingly mandatory, but also incredibly enjoyable. Before annoying ideologues like Paul D. Miller “intellectualized” electronica to the point of clinical staidness, laptop tweakers were all smiles and struts, making music more danceable than Derridean. And Maple is a return to this time, with Blectum joining sympathetic partners Matmos and John Fell Ryan in the continuing quest to merge Studio 54 hubris with the neo-dada sonic pranksterism a la Kid 606. Highly recommended.

By Stewart Voegtlin
- Dusted


Blevin Blectum
Gular Flutter
AAGOO CD/DOWNLOAD

A gular futter, in case you were wondering, is the pulsation in the upper esophagus which takes place in some species of birds as a response to heat stress. It's the kind of delicate, organic motion that you might not immediately associate with Blevin Blectum - her collaborative partnership with kevin Blechdom may have come to a half more than five years ago, but the irreverent and frequently scatological surrealism which permeated the music they made together still casts a distorting light over the way subsequent work has been perceived.
Gular Flutter demonstrates that Blectum makes music of considerable subtlety. It arrives after a lengthy hiatus - during which time she became a qualified veterinary nurse - and although there's no shortage of ideas or lack of sheer kinetic energy, there is a slightly unfamiliar sense of professional sobriety about proceedings. The opening track 'Real Live Escargot' has a floaty, space-age quality - the nematode bassline and clattering percussion are curiously distant, squirming together in an airlocked chamber, softened by the processed harmonies of helium female sighs. Later 'Mine' majors on backmasked fairground flurries, but instead of exuding mere giddy brashness, it calls to mind the austere grandeur of Boyd Rice's 1970s tape experiments.
And there are a myriad of similarly subdued - and equally intriguing - nuances: the stately, haunted house coda to 'Flowers Fade Fast', the warped bridal march of 'Tightly', the baroque, Levantine swirls of 'Cygnet'. Even as the bpm count climbs towards the album's close, things stay tantalisingly ambiguous - 'Avian Enamel' starts out with a propulsive kick/hi-hat combo, but layered and looped vocals add a note of tenderness which is all the more disquieting for being so unexpected.
-Chris Sharp, THE WIRE, London, September 2008
- The Wire, September 2008


Discography

bLevin bLectum : Electronic Musician : Discography

Solo Albums:

Artist: bLevin bLectum
Title: Gular Flutter
Release Date: July 2008
Type: Full-length CD, also contains videos by Ryan Junell and Jesse S. Clark
Label: Aagoo, NY, NY
Label website: http://www.aagoo.com

Artist: bLevin bLectum
Title: Magic Maple
Release Date: October 2004
Type:Full-length CD
Label: Praemedia, San Francisco, CA
Label website: http://www.praemedia.com

Artist: bLevin bLectum
Title: Talon Slalom
Release Date: April 2002
Type: Full-length CD, enhanced with video by Ryan Junell
Label: Deluxe Records, Berkeley, CA

Artist: bLevin bLectum
Title: Pirate Planets
Release Date: January 1999
Type: Full length CD
Label: Phthalo
Label website: http://www.phthalo.com

Compilations:

Minicomp 001
Track Title: "Money for Rope"
Release Date: December 2006
Vinyl 7"
Sneakmove

Women Take Back The Noise, Vociferous
Track Title: "Stellie"
Release Date: 2006
Triple CD Compilation
UBUIBI

remixes of Wobbly's - 'Multiple Peady'
Artist Remixed:Wobbly
Track Title: "Chicken Jiggler Peady"
Release Date: Summer 2004
12" Green Vinyl Remixes
Boniato

The Allegorical Power Series, Volume VII
Track Title: "Tragictable"
Release Date: December 2003
Full-length CD Compilation
Antiopic

Azadi: RAWA benefit
Track Title: "detect warping"
Release Date: Summer 2003
Double CD Compilation
Museum Fire

45 seconds of:
Track Title: "duckhunt45"
Release Date: January 2003
Full-length CD Compilation
SimballRec

My Favourite Things Dereconstrucovered
Artist Remixed: Olivier Lamm
Track Name: "Overloadenied"
Release Date: October/November 2002
Full-length Remix CD
Active Suspension

San Francisco Weekly Music Awards 2002
Artist: bLevin bLectum
Track Title: "Saturnray"
Release Date: October 2002
Full-length CD Compilation
San Francisco Weekly

Tigerbeat6 inc.
Artist: bLevin bLectum (as D-84)
Track Title: "Rockitship"
Release Date: July 2001
Double CD Compilation
Tigerbeat6

BeastFest 2001
Track Title: "Pirate Planetoids"
Release Date: 2001
Full-length CD Compilation
WholeEnchilada Records

Appearances

The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast
Artist: Matmos
Blevin Blectum contributed: Violin
Track Title: "Rag For William S. Burroughs"
Release Date: may 9, 2006
Full-length CD
Matador Records

For Alan Turing
Artist: Matmos
Blevin Blectum contributed: Violin
Track Title: "Cockles And Mussels"
Release Date: September 2006
CD, Mini EP
Vague Terrain

Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth?
Artist: The Soft Pink Truth
Blevin Blectum contributed: Additional Vocals
Track Title: "I Owe It To the Girls"
Release Date: October 2004
Full-length CD

Soundslike
The Civil War
Artist: Matmos
Blevin Blectum contributed: Violin
Track Titles: "Zealous Order Of Candied Knights", "Pelt And Holler", & "For The Trees (Return)"
Release Date: September 23, 2003
Full-length CD

Matador Records
The Early Whitney EP
Artist: Why?
Violin: "The Crest"
Release Date: 2003
Vinyl, 12"
Anticon

Suppressive Acts I-X
Artist: Lesser
Additional Vocals & Production: "Act IV - Ancient Chinese Whack-Off Session"
Release Date: 2003
Full-length CD
Matador UK

Your Butt
Artist: Kevin Blechdom
Additional Vocals: "Boob-A-Q"
Release Date: November 2002
CD Single
Dudini

Do You Party?
Artist: The Soft Pink Truth
Additional Vocals: "Make Up"
Release Date: October 2002
Full-length CD
Soundslike

Plugs Plus
Artist: DAT Politics
Additional Vocals: "Re-Folk", "Food" & "Love Noodle" as Bevin Kelley
Release Date: October 2002
Full-length CD
Chicks On Speed Records

Parts Water
Artist: Safety Scissors
Additional Vocals (hiccups): "Mirror (Wet)"
Release Date: July 2001
Full-length CD
Plug Research

A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure
Artist: Matmos
Additional Vocals: "Lipostudio... And So On"
Release Date: March 13, 2001
Full-length CD
Matador Records

Gearhound
Artist: Lesser
Additional Production: "Intuit Like An Innuit (Now w/ Instant Blectal Remix)"
Release Date: January 2001
Full-length CD
Matador UK

Double Exposure
Artist: TransChamps
Violin: "First Comes Sunday Morning" as Bevin Kelley
Release Date: 2001
Vinyl 12"
Thrill Jockey

Parallel To The Atmospheric Sound Of Silence
Artists: Languis & Safety Scissors
Additional Vocals: "Mirror"
Release Date: 2000
10" Vinyl Split
Plug Research

As one-third of the band called Sagan: Albums, Compilation Tracks and Miscellaneous:

Unseen Forces
Release Date: Fall 2004
Full-length CD/DVD
Bleakhouse / Vague-Terrain
Resting Pleasures
Release Date: 2006
7" Single / Mini CD
333 Recordings

Wire Tapper 9
Track Name: "JabPunPlusOne"
Release Date: November 2002
Double CD Compilation
The Wire Magazine

Night Owls 2
Track Name: "Who Speaks For Earth?"
Release Date: October 22, 2002
Full-length CD Compilation
Deluxe Records

As on half of the band Blectum Fro

Photos

Bio


Blevin Blectum is an electronic musician. Recently relocated from the industrial armpit of Oakland, California, to the humid lovecraftian greenery of Providence, Rhode Island, Blevin released her fourth solo album, GULAR FLUTTER, on an unsuspecting public via the AAGOO label (New York, 2008). The Wire magazine (UK) chose GULAR FLUTTER as one of its top 15 Electronic records of 2008.

Blevin is perhaps best known as one half of the recently reformed and reunited groundbreaking digital duo Blectum From Blechdom, recipients of the 2001 Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Musics (for their album "The Messy Jesse Fiesta"). Blevin was a party to audio/video band SAGAN, alongside fellow e-musician Lesser, keyboardist Wobbly, and video artiste enfant terrible Ryan Junell. SAGAN released their debut CD/DVD, "Unseen Forces" on the Vague Terrain label (Matmos' vanity label), with a follow-up release, "The Resting Pleasures EP", on 333 Recordings (Oakland, CA).

Blevin produces continued electronics with a more oblique slant on the basic BFB sensation of things-not-quite-right-here, clanking, creaking grooves and anti-grooves as a coal-powered spacecraft from some steampunk parallel universe potentiality, puffing and straining as it struggles to reach escape velocity, chopped, noise-reduced and timed/stretched to the breaking/boiling point, generally fucked-with samples of everything from hand-slapped rain-drenched leaves in courtship gardens and antique broken Beatnik banks to ProTooledFree classic utterly danceable disembodied-blissful-transvestite-stand-up-comic vocals.

In May 2009 she toured Europe with Kevin Blechdom and Irene Moon's SLaughtering SLobbersville - a hyper-vaudevillian far-future carboard-costumed three-ring production - along with the likes of Dan Gower and Julie LaMendola, Justice Yeldham, Ironing, Elisabeth King, Barnwave, and Christopher Fleeger.