[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
The creative effort of Martin Bladh is conditioned by a constant and obsessive mania for illustrating the dynamics and origins of the very self through the means of music, graphic and scenic representations. The underground has saluted his flawless and intellectually gratifying works, that are sufficient to eschew the biography of a living enfant terrible.
Here we are regaled with his main project’s new appetizer, and obliged to face a transgendered piece of authentic power electronics. “Closure” belongs to a triptych consisting of the EP “Indications Of Nigredo” and the album “Order4”, this time the material being released through Malignant Records. Again as a trio, Bladh is accompanied by Eric Jarl and Mikael Oretoft.
The nine tracks presented on the record are laconically numbered as Closure I-IX , a scale of their allegory being open to discussion or simply absent. Perhaps those happy enough to possess the original 20-page booklet disc could interpret more. As for myself, I remain numbed. “Closure I” sets its mark with clinical massive percussions (the Swedish percussionist Ulrik Nilsson participates on the album) set on shrill droning electronics. The vocals follow a frequency line intended to superpose mantric mumbles to physical domination asexual sadism. The force of the musical speech is sharp and constantly provocative, engaging a special interest and participation from the auditorium.
IRM on “Closure” constructs laborious, surgical, three-dimensional masses of sound that are manipulated with finesse akin to perfect prestidigitation. “Closure II” has the peculiar absurd feeling of the serialized, atonal music choosing timbres that elude themselves and suddenly reappear overdressed in different lengths and colors. The label announces the presence of the English electric cellist Jo Quail, who has lately released an album designed by Karolina Urbaniak, the same photographer who is also working with Bladh. Exceptionally enough, the rhythmic and the vocal discharge favors the coming back of memories with the Devil Doll’s ludic and menacing arpeggios, to which the hypnagogue, trance-like sound of the cello adds a strangely erotic nuance.
Bladh’s performances are shocking displays of nudity and aspectual mutilation. The necessity to free the body of form and to destroy the fascination of the ego are themes of predilection to his shows or writing process (lately proved on his book entitled Des). “Closure III” builds around a short musical novel seemingly imagining the reaction of the murderer Danny Nilsen, a fetish inspiring figure for Bladh, confronted with society or with life perceived as a puppet theatre. The simplest surrealistic act (in Breton’s view), of shooting at random is reinterpreted in terms of surrealistic madness that fails to reshape the borders between representation and materiality. Sound-wise IRM fuses drone ambient textures with tamed harsh noise, in looping tides evoking changes and depersonalization.
Furthermore, the dramatic effect is more realistically present on “Closure IV”, reminiscent of ancient drama. The joining of singed narration, drumming and visualized mechanical body movements on the part of the performer conveys an organic performance very akin to oriental drama staging. The effect upon your consciousness becomes imperceptibly obvious, allegedly sublimating collateral reactions translated by gestures and visual constructions. It is also a cultural reference to the Antonin Artaud’s interest in Balinese theatre and its peculiar components.
On “Closure V” the collapsing, shrill vibe is originating out of a sick symbiosis between a cello’s chords and inaccurate, albeit unavoidable, screeching noises just like those between the softness of the skin on the roughness of bone. It is a question that could have risen solely in the mind of a hyperlucid introspective persona searching the answer in between two opposed and somewhat resembling views: Albert Camus’ revolt and Roger Karmanik’s inner war. The track moves arrogantly on the basis of a horrendous death ambient, torturing the ears and the soul in a funeral doom manner, leaving no room for habitual or domestic breath.
The percussionist Ulrik Nilsson evolves also in Hidden Mother and other musical projects. His drumming is lively and keeps the pace with the industrial rhythm on “Closure VI” that sets the décor for the viscous “Closure VII”. The bassline retains a pressure of insatiable egomachia that is alarmingly polarized by cello fuzzing movements and sagacious ambient backgrounds. When this whole amniotic lullaby implodes in a visceral wall of harsh, detonating noise ,you are fully blown away by the rampant sensation of a failed catharsis.
In terms of musical references IRM acquires a capacity of synthesis and authenticity truly rare in the electronics scene. “Closure VIII”, by its minimalist dark blues and deranged verbalism, reminds the listener of Marco Corbelli’s fascination with the deprave. It is this same lecherous albeit auto-erotic sound paradigm conjuring the senses on “Closure IX”. The narration is purposely made up from deviated subjects and bondage audio performance layering distorted tones and vibrations.
The musical process of transmutation that IRM has undergone is palpable. They refined and redefined the source sound and reshaped an understanding of power electronics all the more exceptional because it goes hand in hand with a hermetic vision subjected to the devil doll-ian diction “art must hurt”. And if it fails to do so, you can still hurt yourself.