THERE’S really no point in gathering together fancy wordsmithery here: if you like your music tending towards to the acoustic auteur with a personal vision, an artist who’s not necessarily content to take a finely wrought and heartfelt tale and sit inside it, not try to stress-test it, push the further boundaries of the song – Daniel Blumberg is your man.
Having left a previous life as a member of Yuck, he sits in a very loose plane of musicians which would have to include Richard Dawson, Richard Youngs, David Thomas Broughton, maybe even Jandek out on the orbital edge.
His debut album for Mute, 2018’s Minus, saw the 27-year-old dashing off a set in just five days in a remote area of Wales, and drew astonished critics to note that it somehow seemed to sit somewhere between Neil Young and Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk.
On the last day of July he released his new album, On&On, the (semi-) title track for which you can dive into below.
A motorcyclist circles a roundabout endlessly, on and on and on and on and on; note how as he revolves he picks up fleeting partnerships with other vehicles: a car, a cyclist.
“I didn’t ask for nothin’ / I didn’t wanna ask … I expected love to go on and on and on and on and on and on …” he offers out to the universe.
The song begins in an atonal collapse, like a chrome tape skidding over the heads, like The Fire Engines or Stump greasily fast-forwarded, diminishing to a cello bowing out of key. You really don’t know what to make of this.
And then it finds itself, rises as a folkish paean to naivete and loss, to expectation dashed. Phew. And all in about a hundred seconds.
On& On is a nine-track song cycle which aims to be “a consolidation of the deconstructed song aesthetic he has developed, operating at the intersection between conventional song structures and free improvisation … at times dissolving the boundaries between songs altogether.
“The title track appears four times across the arc of the record as if coming in and out of focus, an infinite song that encapsulates the paradox of the circle, existing in a liminal space between perpetual motion and stasis, as Daniel sings: ‘On and on and on and on and on …’”
Daniel Blumberg’s On&On is out now on Mute Records on CD, digital, limited clear vinyl and trad black pressings. To enter his world, order here.