Blue Chemise, B.A.A.D.M. and Beyond!
Brisbane’s Mark Gomes was a familiar face in early 2000s D-I-Y music activities, who after a period of silence re-emerged in 2015 with Blue Chemise and the fantastic (but short lived) Greedy Ventilator label. The self titled cassette (Greedy Ventilator, 2015), ‘Influence On Dusk’ LP (Greedy Ventilator, 2017) and contributions to compilations on cult labels Kye and Vitrine placed his output in the still awkward to classify egalitarian re-energisation of experimental music occasionally described (at least by me) as Domestic Concréte. How else to sum up this moment in modern “experimental” music? A post-industrial pranksters approach to electroacoustic composition? I will ever figure out how to describe this musical development centred somewhat near Graham Lambkin’s Kye Records in a way that does it justice??
Blue Chemise moved away from some of the open spooled/strange microphone placement signifiers of this “movement” on 2018’s ‘Daughters Of Time’. Turning towards something more palatable and downright pretty to the normal human ear, while remaining evocative and feeling like a truly natural creative development.
On his current offering ‘Flower Studies’ (B.A.A.D.M., 2021), Blue Chemise further inverts the mode of operation. Simple piano refrains take the forefront with the additional atmosphere (hums, hisses, could-be manipulated tape, synth or field recording) sitting behind. At some points I could imagine these recordings turning towards Flaming Tunes style oddball pop ditties, but ultimately I’m glad these 8 pieces float and drift along as they do. As Mitch mentioned in our last blog entry, there’s a meditative Satie-esque quality here.
While ‘Flower Studies’ is what led us to the place the order, a closer inspection revealed a great deal of connective tissue between other titles on the B.A.A.D.M. label and musical worlds we’re partially acquainted with. For example we were aware of the unruly, surreal and feverish electronics of Opéra Mort via a previous release on Alter (Low Life, Total Control etc), plus we’re fans of both members other projects, Femme and El-g.
We’ve experienced Frederik Croene with Timo Van Luijk , but never on his own, and the record on offer here inverts the church organ music in a way that puts him in fine company with Pancrace, Sarah Davachi or Aine O’Dwyer. Broadly speaking both Mathieu Serruys and Mattias Gustafsson’s albums occupy a similar space to the Domestic Concréte approach mentioned above, but both with this ability to sculpt it into something that wouldn’t be too far a stretch for someone into Grouper’s signature song-in-murk style.
I can't help but think about Mitch’s recent pontification about another hard-to-quantify emergence in music. A “strange point between song, ambient textural experimentation, and dub techniques”. There’s a connection here, while the “experimental” side of things may well be keeping things moving by transforming the murk into something more shapely, on the other side those who might’ve identified as producers or post-punks are aiming to do the opposite.
Joining a few more dots on this musical page I have to mention Malvern Brume’s ‘Tendrils’ LP (Alter, 2021). It’s an album that sculpts the previously mentioned mode of Domestic Concréte into more shapely compositions. As do Melbourne’s Red Wine & Sugar , albeit in a different direction, where dark humoured musing about the banalities of modern living meets a music bed that subtly evokes majestic synth pop. Lastly, Newcastle's Altered States Tapes in-house band Ivory Whips merges the labels history with both loose-unit and highly-considered approaches to far out sounds with a couple of tapes of side-long sprawling jams.