Significant women in electronic music are hard to come by. With notable exceptions such as The Doubtful Guest, Mira Calix, and Colleen, the artists and audience of the genre are predominately male and thereby the issue of gender will unfortunately often overshadow an objective appreciation of the work. In the case of the latter two examples, it is true that their sensitive approach to composition could be seen as a product of their femininity, yet music is an art too transcendental anduniversal for such matters as the sex of the artist to really matter and, in the case of this record, the fourth solo full length by Blevin Blectum (someone so conscious of the correlation between perception of her music and her gender that she has adopted an androgynous pseudonym), it shouldn’t matter whether its author is a hermaphrodite with the sexual predilections of a transsexual lesbian, because it is a subtle, markedly original yet surprisingly accessible and engaging collection oftracks.
Utter innovation is an asset often wrongly ascribed to artists by the mainstream music press, but I won’t attempt to create the impression that Gular Flutter shares nothing with musical contempories because it does. The tribalism bordering on arrhythmia which opens the album’s first track, ‘Real Live Escargot’ (so snails, then), is reminiscent of BlackDice’s work when signed to DFA; ‘Flowers Fade Fast’ is essentially Danny Elfman meets Matmos; the dominating spectral breaks of ‘Empty Bottle Starcall’ brings to mind Enduser circa Comparing Paths (albeit with a carnival-esque twist); and the truncated vocal loops which pervade the record’s hypnotic finale, ‘Avian Enamel’, recall The Field, although Blectum takes the organic-minimal-techno for which Willner is so lauded to its natural conclusion, giving the track’s repetitious beats depth so as to create the sense that the relentless rhythms are being created by a drummer. This concept is accentuated by the fact that these sounds are slightly off-kilter, as if J-Dilla had released material on Kompakt.
It is in these quirks, which luckily all fall on the right side ofwhimsical, that the record’s genius lies. From the hauntingly melodic highlight ‘Cygnet’, which showcases Blectum’s virtuoso violin skills, to the beautifully concise ‘Tightly’, which teases the listener with tantalising vocal samples soaked in reverb and constantly threatens tobreak into a joyously catchy singalong but always falls short, Blectum’smusic is often weird, but never weird for weird’s sake.