CAT #: RVNGNL21
Digital release date: June 25, 2013
Physical release date: August 6, 2013
Blondes create bodily dance music that treads ecstatic heights.
The duo of Sam Haar and Zach Steinman was last heard demonstrating this transcendent practice – one favoring analog serenity to digital flare – on the duo’s 2012 self-titled debut album. Tracks were titled with conceptual dualisms, released on opposing 12” sides prior to album compilation and gleaned house and techno rudiments with spiritually escapist split ends.
Around the release of Blondes, Haar and Steinman advocated the humanistic side of dance culture, mentioning the meditative potential of electronic music as channeled through their interest in the physicality of music making, such as hardware instrumentation and improvisation. At the same time, Blondes’ live performances steadily flared up in various types of venues, mostly outside of the DIY spaces the duo got their start: the traditional club, the art museum, the open air festival, and some of the best sound systems throughout Europe.
The evolution of sound systems on which Blondes played created a curve along which Haar and Steinman built a universally impactful sonic experience. After rehauling their gear and settling into a new studio space, Blondes’ busy year ended in an intensely focused production period during which Haar and Steinman sculpted the boldly detailed Swisher.
Swisher unfolds as a series of mini-epics rather than a string of banging cuts. Still, the allegiance to the groove remains absolute. Percussive elements are most notably honed on Swisher, drawing a sharp contrast between the rich timbres and vaporous synth sounds that seep throughout the album. Centerpiece “Andrew” and closer “Elise” enhance the melodic concerns of Blondes early material, mantled now in a maturity that favors gradual force.
By focusing on process rather than protocol, Haar and Steinman allow space in each track for dramatically immersive environments. Most tracks on Swisher tread beyond the five minute mark, but always absorb rather than indulge. This cosmic scope aligns Blondes not only with the German synth masters of the 70s (who have been a guiding inspiration for the duo since the onset), but also the slow burning dub techno of later day Germany – though ramped up several bpms.
The heterogeneous textures throughout Swisher often brood, but ultimately make for a considerate and cathartic brand of dance music. Swisher’s foundation is its tremendously crafted percussive core, and its architecture is the elemental beauty hinted at in prior Blondes work, offered now in lucid detail.
Blondes’ Swisher will be released digitally on June 25, 2013 and August 6th as a limited edition 2xLP and CD.