I have often heard it said that jazz musicians take themselves a bit too seriously, and sometimes I’m inclined to agree. But there’s not much doubt that Blueblut had as much fun making their new album – Hurts so Gut – as I had listening to it.
It’s not for the purists, but those of you familiar with Led Bib will enjoy lots of it – their drummer Mark Holub is one member of this Vienna-based trio. But the sound is very different. Pamelia Kurstin is probably not the only jazz Theremin player – but she’s certainly the best known and the only one I’ve ever come across – and her bent notes pervade this CD. The theremin is a fascinating instrument that can move from singing to screaming in an instant and can sometimes sound like lots of other instruments and at other times like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
I haven’t come across Chris Janka on guitar before but he seems to be an all round experimental sound artist who describes himself as “Flying machine maker, sound engineer, guitarist and automata creator”.
Originally Blueblut formed for a one off concert for the Vienna Room Service festival in 2013, but the trio apparently liked what they played so much that they decided to continue. By the end of the year, powered by crates of beer, curries and sweets and with open access to Chris’s basement studio, a distinct sound and album had emerged.
The first track You think is typical (but only in its unpredictability). It starts with some strange squawking, then wailing electronics, and then the voice comes in to scream “Is this what you thought it was gonna be like?” followed by a heavy rock riff and finishing up with some distorted sound. Both the sound and the words seem to set the tone for the rest of the album.
The second track Bondàge starts with a theremin wailing a melody over a solid guitar riff and a rock beat. Held together by the drums the sound then gets more frenetic and electronic before returning to the melody.
So on other tracks we might get a twisted theremin walking bass, some thrash punk guitar, a toy piano playing a nursery rhyme, strange vocal interjections, some ethereal electronic wailing, some very jolly tunes that sound like film music and through most of it lots of energetic driving drumming – and sometimes you get all that on one track.
Experimental sounds and electronics can sometimes be too overpowering and difficult. Here they are delivered with wit and a sense of fun over the driving rock rhythms that made this an easy CD to listen to.
Blueblut are on a nine-date European tour starting at the end of October and are appearing at the Vortex on November 3rd with the duo of Seb Rochford with Pamelia Kurstin.