I can’t be the only one feeling a little scammed upon perusing press photos of Blondes. For one, the notion that a legion of attractive Swedish women with golden locks had crafted Touched really piloted the aesthetics surrounding my initial run of the EP and the fact that I cannot remember the last project composed of all blondes (though I can distinctly remember the last one not to be) makes me a little sad. My yearning for a towheaded electronic group aside, the more advantageous thing to learn from photos of Brooklyn’s Blondes is that they are a duo, two men: Sam Haar and Zach Steinman.
So much of my favorite electronic music is pioneered by a single being that finding a group whose sound is as fluid and well-composed as Blondes is unique. Touched is a testament to the absolute success of a project as the fusing of two musical methodologies: each and every underlying pulse is coated in a studied allure; the vast fluctuations are premeditated and perfected, but the poignant outbursts are permeated by a resounding organic feel. Blondes execute tracks with a flawlessly calculated “anything goes,” and it’s in this formula that they succeed.
The EP opens with a slow, ambient tirade: “You Mean so Much to Me.” The duo relies on a delicate synthline to pilot the track’s background up until the work’s warm rhythmic sector swirls into full force and spacey elements enter and exit the soundscape to fantastic effect. Track two is “Moondance,” a vital investigation of dreamy, blissed-out house music which heads in a direction almost opposite of “You Mean so Much to Me.”
There’s something technical about Touched that begs to be studied, but the release’s abilities in terms of its dance/club music roots are astounding. Underlooked track “Paradise City” takes just over a minute to explode into a lush exploration of rhythm; it’s an abridged version of the typical Blondes track (some of which clock in around ten minutes) that retains the fervor and intensity of the remainder of the album. In some sense, all five songs challenge the listener not to let loose.
Overall, Touched as a debut EP achieves a lot more than most electronic LPs have in the first half of 2010. Blondes sometimes lapse into a predictable pattern, but overall achieve a polished and appealing sound. I look forward to hearing other releases and watching the band better explore their abilities in a full album format.
By, Cassandra Gillig