F.S. Blumm - Summer Kling

I just wish there was still a bit of the anarchism evident in his early work



F.S. Blumm – Summer Kling



I've been listening to Mr. Blumm's stuff for some time now, and watched the progression from the music he was making with Harald 'Sack' Zeigler – sketchy and electronic and almost lo-fi – to his more recent work. Summer Kling is certainly more professional sounding and there are fewer of the doodles that used to clutter up earlier albums. This is not necessarily a good thing - I much prefer Mr. Scruff's early work, for example, to the later albums that could quite easily soundtrack a tasteful bar for bland twenty-something urbanites.


The overall sound of Summer Kling could be described as jazzy post-rock although, having just written that, I realise that it does the record no justice. It's a languid record, one content to work its way into your consciousness in an almost subliminal manner. As with so many musicians these days Mr. Blumm plays more instruments than most people knew existed until a few years ago. He plays all the main ones save drums but also adds such esoteric delights as the metallophone, the organetta and the melodica. Not to mention the xylophone, banjo and double bass. And the pencil. Despite Blumm's many talents the album also features a few electronic dabblers and various brass and woodwind players. The resultant sound is both subtle and rich, and also the work of a very focussed mind. Think, if you will, of The Sea and the Cake's most recent output, or that of Sam Prekop.


When the music works the songs have space and room to breathe, and the various melodic lines twist and run around each other, without necessarily ever coming together. At other times the old jazz favourite of allowing instruments 'their turn' comes into play, such as on Haus & Halm. A plucked guitar forms the basis for most of the tracks, along with brushed drums and electronic beats. Over this comes the flute, or the clarinet etc. Behind the scenes there is more going on: a bit of electric chatter here or there, or the tinkling of a xylophone. Only occasionally does the sound feel cluttered; normally it manages to be both involved and yet open. The only criticism that I would have with the album is that the songs begin to resemble one another after a while. The style of the songs, and the textures that make them up, does not change as the album progresses. I would have liked there to be more unusual moments such as the sudden (and pleasingly feeble) whistling on Sicht, which also features a nod to Steve Reich's early work.


Its swings and roundabouts, I guess. On earlier work, such as Shy Noon, there was a playful element that was successful at times, but was also frustrating at others. The songs were fun, and the album was all over the place. You can see the direction that Blumm has taken and the result is more sophisticated and more professional. I just wish there was still a bit of the anarchism evident in his early work. You just can't please some people.


Words: Chris Dawson.