Review: Minilogue – Blomma (English version)
2013 strikes again: Swedish duo Minilogue releases Blomma, their second album under Cocoon Recordings.
Sebastian Mullaertt and Marcus Henriksson started collaborating in 1997. One was granted a rather classical musical education, the other one has had his hands dancefloor-dirty since the beginning. In 1999 Minilogue was born. Their first album Animals, released in 2008 under Cocoon as well, has this “continuous mix” structure that matches its deep side quite well.
Let’s start with a remix of a track from their first album, which I discovered them with:
Whereas Animals has 25 normal-sized tracks (split into a Dance CD and an Ambient CD), Blomma has only 8 (even then, for the LP version) … but they’re huge : 10, 12, 18 … 45 minutes ! That’s because the project here is completely different: Make room for experimentation, besides the usual dancefloor formats. Minilogue are here more on the research side than on the production one. I actually find this album more sensitive and diverse than the previous one, although Animals is a great, airy, polished delight, the “Dance CD” (disc 1) as much as the “Ambient CD” (disc 2). If you haven’t listened to it yet, hurry-up!
(Down this page you can find an ordered playlist of the album tracks)
Blomma : flower in Swedish. Flowering, blossoming, growth, creation? Or a flower like in Les Fleurs Du Mal, a poem, who dies when you pick it up and that you throw away immediately after ? That was our pedantic moment. Let’ stay down to Earth for a minute: The tracks are exceptionally long, and the project is actually about considering each of them like as one-shot, without post-production, result of what could be recorded in the studio at this very moment.
As well as for their first album, the split-up between disc 1 – disc 2 shows the project of separating dance from ambient. Let’s talk a bit about the second disc first, because it is probably the most interesting: “E de nån Hemma?” (of which I failed to find a translation, given the stupid Google Translate results) lasts 45 minutes. Many things can happen during 45 minutes. The listener actually crosses many rather bare sound landscapes that seem to be drawn as they unravel. Improvisation is probably an interesting term to question here : in the successive interventions of the different instrumental lines, the musical plays are very similar to those of jazz. The instruments are sometimes very classical (piano, acoustic percussions or synth organ for instance) and really fit to the musical codes of jazz: seventh chords and solo improvised lines. The two other tracks on this disc are marked with this jazz-behavior-on-technoïd-background side.
Disc 1 is made of 5 tracks more dedicated to dancefloor use, but in a less obvious way than those of their first album. They all have a very particular and individual taste and I still struggle to find some that I like more than the others. The techno/deep touch is quite reserved and leaves room for elaborate depths and elegantly-connected events. Existensberättigande is somewhat special for its more obvious dancefloor side, but very well achieved as well.
What doesn’t change is that airy side and these smooth textures. A particular taste for minimalism, which suits me just fine, takes this music to a transparent and authentic level.
Minilogue have always set themselves in a two-genre (ambient – dance) ambivalence, but rather than standing in between, they prefer doing both, explicitly demarcate both territories, and this album does not make an exception to this rule. It is quite positive because it is explicit: the double-album structure and the long, well-delimited tracks of Blomma, all this doesn’t lie on their project nor on their aspirations. It is honest and obvious, and doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. From all this leaks out the evidence of an inspiration overflow from both artists for the current regular formats of the disc industry. Once a track like this has started and already lasted 20 minutes, there is no reason why it should stop, neither now nor in the next ten hours. The general aspect of Blomma is an album without beginning nor ending. It is only a small window on the world created by Sebastian and Marcus, a shot of what this world looked light at the time of the recording. Since then, it has probably gone on evolving and it aspect has changed.
1. Everything Is All You’ve Got
2. Atoms With Curiosity That Looks at Itself and Wonder Why it Wonders
3. Forgotten Memories
5. Nor Coming Nor Going
1. E de nån Hemma?
2. Mellan Landet
3. Evaporerar ut från sitt Gömställe
BONUS 1 : This recent live, scattered with tracks from Blomma, will probably send you far away.
BONUS 2 : On side B of their EP Doiicie released in 2008, you can listen to a lovely variation on the script of the short film “The Discipline Of D E” by Gus Van Sant. Surely this is the easy way.
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