Ant’lrd is a fitting moniker for Colin Blanton. His generous output of sound collages over the past five years has him gracefully branching above the work of his peers. Cherubian, his newest, (out on cassette by Moss Archive + digital) is proof antlers do shed and regrow; Blanton’s looking like the best buck out there.
“I’ll Bet They’re Full of Love” begins Cherubian in true Northwest fashion: gloomy and lifted barely by patchy drone-induced sunbeams. Blanton finds tiny pockets within his forest of sounds to poke at and release the softest of swirls. “Innermost” is as precious as it is brief. It feels like a visit from a loved one, tangible and needed. “Cherubian” is harmonious and child-like as the name suggests. The melody is hard to replicate with a hum, as many sounds are invited within; similar to fireflies crowding the country home’s only porch light.
Later in the tape, “Local Marimba” gifts a communal feel. The marimba’s sound is looped and processed through a summer night. It gently marches into deep regions of your subconscious with polyrhythmic clinks and non-voiced chorale echoes. “Gentle Lift” follows early with a continuous clanking and printer-like, scanning sound. The layering is majestic; even with a methodical build up, the loops generate a dense, melodic expanse fit for early morning sits or recovery from misguided evenings. Smartly woven into two/three parts, this whopping 15 and half minutes out paces even the stingiest of timekeepers.
Cherubian is bathed firmly in the art of drone glitches, elusive textures, recycled field recordings, and electronic manipulations. Never rushed or driving to push the listener, Cherubian is a companion piece to be still with. Like most of Blanton’s work, Cherubian’s sounds and reverberations are more gratifying on subsequent listens. The melodic fragments appear bolder and easier to clutch. Similar to a lasting friendship, Cherubian’s warmth should stay as the season turns chilly and cold.
Blanton’s vision as Ant’lrd continues to reveal a wider expanse of mind and nuance. His gift isn’t so much rooted in making sound art; rather speaking a language of the soul. Here’s to his stately extensions of the skull.