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Daniel Blumberg – GUT – HeavyPop.at

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Daniel Blumberg – GUT – HeavyPop.at

by Oliver
on June 8, 2023
in Album

Veritable body horror in spirit, ultimately a slogan to persevere: Daniel Blumberg dissolves his singer-songwriter roots GUT finally in the experimental art avant-garde experiment.

Daniel, keep on singing/ Even when your stomach is stinging/ Even when you’re thinning and thinning’ sing Blumberg in the final title track, which settles into the solace of a forgiving synth dystopia, consciously destroying the universal purifying effect on the listener, making for the catharsis of the deeply personal GUT alone and accept the fact that his third studio album under his own name fades away behind it in an overwhelming manner – and above all without the feeling of having really moved from the spot (musically, compositionally, aesthetically) in the half hour of playing time.

The mesmerizing, hypnotically alluring and eclectically captivating GUT is a holistic work in six seamlessly merging parts, created in the pandemic isolation under the impressions of a severe intestinal disease including psychological problems, whose representational economy makes the space of silence elementary, next to one another youngster in the ranks of absolute Scott Walker admirers, albeit from a disturbing one Talk Talk-meets-reduced-Swans-Perspective.
In its course, it only works vice versa, practically always according to the same pattern: Blumberg (vocals, bass harmonica, diatonic harmonica, Steinberger ebass, electronic drums, synthesiser) solves the compositions instrumentally the way of Minus and On&On following even more abstractly, the bass dominates the avant-garde aesthetic and sparse drum instincts twitch as if accidentally borrowed from freejaaz – there are no melodies or hooks to cling to in the staging.

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But the vocal lines built on it are (as weary, melancholic and troubled as they may be) catchy, seductive as can be, are repeated in a mantra-like, meditative manner to the point of saturation, and still give an ambient testimony to Blumberg’s understanding of pop, where Yuck and Cajun Dance Party otherwise not even a distant memory.
An ambivalence that reflects the contrast of the artwork, charming and attractive, especially as a differential to the instrumental side – however, all the repetitions of the vocal patterns in the vaguely sketched environment seem all the more complete, they go in circles as engaging as they are exhausting… but as a stimulant they are good indispensable for the final perseverance slogan in the unchanging environment.

In doing so, Blumberg varies the facets of the record in their homogeneous coherence – and shortly before the end even seems to be steering towards an overarching climax.
After the minimalist drone by Bone comes Cheerup („nothing ever changes in this world“) as close as possible to a sorrowful, touching piano ballad with warm, soft string arrangements, meanwhile the wonderful Hold back soothing, reveling, elegiacly flowing glimmer of hope spreads over crackling Taser electrodes – the vocals here also turn in circles, musing and sadly beautiful, underlining the mortifying-dogmatic limitations of the remaining songs in this regard.
Body roars, chokes, grunts and wheezes like Pharmacon without electronics – the body becomes a tool, resonance body and sound generator, the necessary evil to drag oneself through the world – that is not healthy, but briefly it seems that it could pave the way to salvation. Knock finally begins as a pastoral acapella piece in solitude…until the typified MO awakens again standardized over the mood of optimism of a flickering soundtrack orchestra, but the rhythm begins to intertwine and the arc of suspense comes to a head, the entire narrative to a fulfilling light at the end of the seem to lead to tunnels. But then it turns out GUT als sisyphussches Labyrinth.

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