Ella Blame Ineffable Desire
By Marcus Pan
Im not quite sure what to make of
this CD. Its trippy looking and trippy sounding. But sometimes the
familiar feelings of adrenaline-rushed trips (no comment on my level of
experience here) can sometimes swing to the bad side like that time I
wandered into an arcade surrounded by blips, whistles and digitized cartoon
characters that nearly drove me to insanity and an arrest.
The band here is a duo made up of singer and composer Ella
Blame and a multi-instrumentalist named Michael D. Temple. They claim to
perform music never heard before and, well, yes I would say they succeeded in
this endeavor. The musicology is sometimes interesting, always strange. But
there is a detractor here
In a recent review of a CD called Dark My Way(1), I
had mentioned how the female lead vocalist had the ability to completely
wreck the sound of the tune surrounding her. And Ella tends to, more
often than not, do the same thing. I cant say that Ella cant
surely thats not the case. But maybe a speech therapist is in
order here. She kind of wanders about with an annoyingly high pitched, mumbly
voice. It's almost like Ella doesn't complete the words she's speaking or
singing, leaving a more incomplete rhetoric vocal style on the tracks. I draw
comparison to the high pitch singing style of Lucy Mongrel(2) or the work done
by Perpetual Ocean on the Houdini CD(3) within the track Radio
Egypt where the vocals were actually incomplete and done, purposefully,
with a Burroughsian cut-up style.
I like the bubbling opening groove of Thought Control
on track four. Ella does enunciate a little better here as well and while the
lyrics like all the work on Ineffable Desire are a bit
banal, theyre at least interesting at the outset. The music behind the
track is interesting indeed, but sometimes with forces playing against each
other for a very sharp clashing effect that sometimes can be a bit
Occasionally the melodies will clash too much against each
other for a staggeringly annoying effect, but remains usually light, fluffy and
interesting. A good example of this is on I Can't Sleep, which opens
with toy-piano like tinkling melodies that really do raise the bar of nuisance
in your mind as they are spritzed against one another at the track's opening.
And your ear is still drawn to Ella and not always for good.
Crossing the Border is rather Twinkish(4) in sound,
but adds the element of the off-key (intentionally I'm sure) vocal mutterings
of Ella. The music by itself is interesting and good, if a little stranger than
your usual electronic fare. But its certainly diggable and Im
half-hoping that Temple will maybe do a drum n bass or ambient/trance CD
some time in the future. On track eight, Another Side, I cant tell
if this introduces a new male vocalist, or if this is Ella on an unfeminine
day. Kilian Thons, helping out on Swamp of Lead which follows, takes
Ineffable Desire in an electro-jazzy direction with much aplomb.
Im hard pressed to suggest Ineffable Desire to
people. I might consider it to those who like, say, My Scarlet Life, Meg Lee
Chin or Lucy Mongrel (especially the latter). But Ella Blame can really tread
on your nerves on occasion. And while keeping it light and fluffy, she will
become a bit annoying vocally, lyrically and even with her manner of
presentation that you may find yourself alternately wanting to either jump or
fly out of the nearest high window.
(1) Witchkrieg is the band here.
Mongrels self-titled CD was reviewed in
Reviewed in Legends #113.
(4) Quite a novel musical band, Twink had
their self-titled CD reviewed in Legends
#130 and were interviewed in Legends #128.