Blondes, aka Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, first met at Oberlin College in 2003. Studying electroacoustic composition and studio art respectively, they spent their spare time collaborating on a smattering of short-lived experimental outfits. Post-grad, they moved to Oakland, NYC, and Berlin, where they founded Blondes proper, all before settling in to Brooklyn as their home base.
Blondes quickly evolved from a home studio project to a live experience built around a tactile assemblage of synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines. Haar and Steinman’s creative approach centers around an improvisational process that first produced syrupy, space-case dance music, before further performances at nightclubs with bigger sound systems and ecstatic dance floors inspired the duo to focus their sounds at a higher fidelity and deeper frequency, both sonically and spiritually. Blondes’ heart aligned with house music in its most liquid form and Lover / Hater emerged from those first ripples.
Prefaced by the 50 minute collage of music recorded one lost studio weekend and released on cassette as Rein, Blondes’ most recent contribution comes in the form of the three-track EP, Persuasion. While drawing on the duo’s ever-evolving improvisatory practice, Persuasion maintains a driving groove amid a storm of percussive intensity functional for the floor and space between the ears.
Their 2013 LP, 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.