northern winterbeat #1: Daniel Blumberg
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northern winterbeat #1: Daniel Blumberg

tor 8. Nov 2018

Photo: Steve Gullick
The shipwrecked relationship is on the top of page 1 in the songwriting handbook, but somehow Daniel Blumberg sounds nothing like the same old tearful lament.
Northern Winter Beat talked with him before his performance at the festival in January.

”This year, I’ve been working mainly in silver.”

The English artist Daniel Blumberg is with me through a moody WhatsApp‑connection from London. Here, he alternately talks about his music, and shows his silverpoint drawings to me and the camera on his phone.

”Silverpoint is one of the oldest techniques of drawing,” he explains and describes how the drawings are carried out with a little silver stick on specially treated paper.

However, at Northern Winter Beat 2019, you will be able to experience his endeavors in music. Something he started in the indie rock band Yuck, and earlier this year expanded his palette when he released the solo album “Minus” ‑ an album that is both the artistic culmination of a tough break‑up and a marking of a distinctive change of style. A kind of reboot, as he calls it.

”Those songs were all from a very specific time. And it was a very different time to now.” And if you crave for a biographical reading, you can draw a straight line to Blumberg’s break‑up with the model and Nymphomaniac actor Stacy Martin.

So when I talk with him, I ask if he buys into the premise of “Minus” being a break‑up record. ”Yeah, definitely. I mean, there’s loads of things going on musically and sonically, and bla, bla, bla. But I think that’s more referring to the lyrical content and maybe the time. So it was a break up record.” The record´s featuring musicians count among others the drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billy). He and the other musicians got the space to improvise and put their personal touch on Blumberg’s personal songs.

“When we do the live stuff, it’s very different. So it’s not very useful to listen to that recording of the songs. But yeah, I am happy with it.”

The seven songs on the album maneuvers between quiet parts, anarchistic harmonica, jarring violins and noise guitar, sounding like a transcript of a modem that starts. As a side note Blumberg´s own grandmother sings on the choral parts of “Used to be older”, where the title repeats as a hypnotic mantra, crawling into your ear like a small worm.