Daniel Blumberg announced his third solo studio album 'GUT' via Mute, firmly establishing him in a unique space within experimental music practice.
Daniel Blumberg announces the release of his third solo studio album, GUT. The album, which follows his Ivor Novello winning score for the film The World To Come, will be released on Mute on vinyl, CD and download on 26 May 2023
While he was recording GUT, Daniel Blumberg had a list of the word’s definitions pinned up on his studio wall:
1. The inner parts or essence of something;
2. A feeling or reaction based on an instinctive and emotional response;
3. Personal courage and determination;
4. To remove the intestines and other internal organs from a fish or other animal;
5. To destroy completely the internal part of a building or structure.
“It felt like the essence of the album,” he says.
GUT is a raw and unflinchingly personal album, a radical departure from Blumberg’s previous work and one that firmly establishes him in his own unique space within contemporary experimental music practice. It makes oblique reference to the intestinal disease Blumberg has suffered in the last few years, but more than that, GUT is an elemental and corporeal song suite: renderings of pain, frustration and fatigue in ballads made sinew and bone; an extraordinary vocal that reaches beyond the body to escape the malfunctions of the flesh, and a musical accompaniment that draws breath and rhythm in unruly and original forms.
"When the songs came together, I played it as a continuous piece,"
This sense of impulse and improvisation saturates the album from its literal subject matter all the way through to its recording strategies which have a directness that situates the album in a timeless space, its song forms authentically frank and immediate. “When the songs came together, I played it as a continuous piece,” he says, recording the majority of the half hour long album in one uninterrupted vocal take, adding few overdubs and manipulation alongside the bold and spare instrumentation that includes bass harmonica, Steinberger ebass, synthesiser and electronic drums. The bass harmonica, in particular, was the instrument which “glued it all together, in this manifestation of breath, and the bass – it is the guts of the record”.
An album length film made by Brady Corbet (Childhood of a Leader, Vox Lux), accompanies GUT. “The film was shot on 16mm black and white film; a series of motion picture portraits in which we set out to capture Blumberg’s very essence”, says Corbet. “Daniel is a close friend and collaborator so it goes without saying that I am a great admirer of his entire catalogue but I felt upon discovering GUT for the first time that this was a unique accomplishment. He has distilled his approach to include only that which is absolutely necessary – for me, this is the sign of an artist at the peak of their talents.”
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Corbet continues, “I was also struck by the album’s theme: the stomach. The stomach is a topic which is as off-limits as speaking frankly about mortality in a social setting. As stomach trouble relates to the end of a relationship, the death of the ego, and acceptance of what it means to be human, it’s a definitive offering.” Shot in a disused industrial complex in New York, the film renders Blumberg naked and vulnerable in high contrast whites and deep black. It displays the tensions of the mind defeated by the body: strained sinews rendered in stark celluloid, direct and uncompromising in its examining gaze.
GUT is Blumberg’s third solo album on Mute and follows the release of two solo albums on the label – Minus (2018) and On&On (2020) – as well as his Ivor Novello winning score for the film The World To Come (dir. Mona Fastvold, 2021).
Alongside his solo output he operates as GUO with saxophonist Seymour Wright, whose releases include GUO4 (Mute, 2019), which was accompanied by a short film by Peter Strickland that premiered at Venice Film Festival the same year.
Blumberg has collaborated with players including Elvin Brandhi, Peter Brötzmann, Josephine Foster, Keiji Haino, Ute Kanngiesser, Steve Noble, Billy Steiger, Tom Wheatley and Jim White among others.
Blumberg recently premiered the live performance of GUT at CTM Festival (Berlin), with further performances scheduled for Rewire Festival (The Hague), Les Nuits Botaniques (Brussels), Teatro Basilica (Rome) and ICA (London).
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