Kevin Blechdom - Eat My Heart Out
It kind of says something about an album when the accompanying CD-Rom short film is more interesting than the album itself. The solo album by Kevin Blechdom – the nom de plume of Kristen Erickson (yes, it’s a she) - 'Eat My Heart Out' revisits much of the terrain that her previous act, Blectum from Blechdom (which also featured an implausibly named Blevin Blechdom), mapped out: zany, hysterical electronica with a warped sense of humour that cast itself as the opposite to all those po-faced IDM releases on Warp and Kompact. Since the break up of Blectum from Blechdom – a band who once played live in front of projections of themselves jogging around the surrounding hills of San Francisco - Blechdom goes it alone with this, her third solo album. Though the promo was graced with a bizarre front cover that features a naked picture of her grasping some intestines in her hand, 'Eat My Heart Out' eventually seems to have been released with a more restrained cover of a cartoon fist doing the same. Music wise, the album seems more suited towards cabaret than any electronic record in the traditional sense, and sees Blechdom electing to move to Berlin, home of Chicks on Speed records (which this release is on) and various electroclash movers and shapers.
Blectum from Blechdom were noticeable for being part of the San Fran and surrounding California electronic scene, which also includes the likes of Matmos, Kid 606 (author of 'The Action Packed Mentallist Brings You The Fucking Jams' album), Cex, and a lot of the acts on Kid 606's Tigerbeat label. Since she’s gone solo, Blechdom has played at the likes of the ‘Wired Women’ festival at the Spitz venue in East London and released two previous albums, 'The Inside Story' and 'Bitches Without Britches' (the latter’s title presumably a pun on a certain Miles Davis album). 'Eat My Heart Out' works well enough on the first track. 'Coming' begins with some lovely falsetto and keyboard strings, before half way through the song suddenly turns into an 80's pop stomp on which Blechdom’s voice does the CD glitch-skip thing, repeating the paranoid mantra: 'I don't know / She don't know / He don’t know / They don't know'.
However, the problem is that there's 19 tracks of this stuff, over which she utilises various cartoon noises, children’s playground chants, self-consciously cheesy 80's synth riffs, farty tin percussion, deliberately tacky drum beats, and computer game bleeps ad infinitum. On 'Are You Fucking With Me' she employs a country and western song to expound on (once again) her paranoia; 'Invisible ROCK' is about, well, Invisible ROCK; and 'Love You From The Heart' has a terrible guest rap over a squelchy disco beat. It's true that she's is bearing her soul 'completely naked' as the press release puts it, but when you have to sit through 19 tracks of various zany electro pastiche the patience does wear thin (though the instrumental 'Songydong' does experiment with some interesting hyper-keyboard riffs on top of a near-gabba beat).
There is at least one bonus. When put into a PC, the album turns out to be a neat little short film called 'Countdown to Nothing', a hilariously baffling 13 minute long story of a friend trying to untangle Kevin from a tree, intercut with some attempts at meaningful French noir taking place in an underground cave (in black-and-white, of course).
As for the music, if this was 10 tracks long it wouldn’t be bad; at 19 it’s pure torture. If you managed to listen to this all in one listen, you're clearly a more dedicated person that I am. Or you're on drugs. Or, more likely, both.