Bladh, Martin – Umbilical Cords

A solo album by Martin Bladh, of IRM and Skin Area fame and part of the Cold Meat family. These acts are known for their loud and noisy sound, but ‘Umbolical Cords’ takes a more restrained approach, though the end result is quite intense. The cd contains four long tracks, ‘Cord 1’ till 4, the last one being an appendix. The album comes in a stylish digipack, of which the cover makes me think of the soundtrack of an Italian arthouse movie.

‘Cord 1’ is carried by an ongoing droning sound, which makes me dizzy after a while. It reminds me of some Swans work, in their “Soundtracks for the Blind” period. Perhaps this reference is enhanced by the very physical feel and theme of this album (a journey through a pregnant body). As the song evolves, various screeching sounds mingle with the low drones, making you wonder what is going on beneath the surface. The second track has the same mixture of hypnotic drones and various manipulated organic sounds, a combination which builds up tension on the verge of collision. The third track is a little slower and more tranquil, a mysterious introspective soundscape.

‘Cord 4’ (Appendix: the screaming body) is a little harsher and noisier than the previous pieces, reminding me of old Lustmord machinery. Nevertheless the feedback gets never out of control. The same can be said of the album in general: the different elements can hardly be held under control, but with effort they remain in an unavoidable embrace. I find ‘Umbolical Cords’ a highly rewarding album, with a nice mixture of deep drones and original organic sounds and an intense atmosphere.

artist: Bladh, Martin
label: Segerhuva
details: 4 tracks, 2005 [seger 10]