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Review + Q&A: Blume- Waves Of Love (2022, self-released)

I’ve been meaning to write something about Canada’s Blume for a while now. Multi-instrumentalist Arthur Benell has conjured up a very infectious way of fusing old school electronic Kraut with modern jangly psych pop rock that worms its way inside your ear and satisfies the old psychedelic jammies at the same time.

Take the wobbly synths of early German kraut pioneers Cluster and Neu! and mix it up with the lethargic guitar vibes and vocals of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and you’ll have a mix that not many psychedelic heads won’t love to wrap around their brain. On Waves Of Love Blume has opted for a more straight forward psych rock sound, also in order to bring it out to live stages in the near future. The result is a record of catchy riffs intermixed with entrancing reverb drenched jams that could go on for days…

Waves Of Love sounds wonderfully warm and thick, and feels at times like taking a dip in a pool full of maple syrup. I think after this one Blume can’t officially call itself lo-fi again, as this record is definitely headphone material that’ll get your head tripping even without any extracurricular substances. It is hard to believe that all this came from just one guy making noise in his bedroom, but there it is. There is something special going on in Edmonton, Canada, and it is clear to me that more people should get to know Blume and dive in Waves Of Love.

I asked Blume’s main (and only) man Arthur Benell to introduce and explain himself and his music. I found him more than willing to spill the beans and invite us into the world of Blume…

Hi Arthur, how have you been doing the past two years?

Hey, I’ve been doing pretty well, thanks for asking. The pandemic had me laid off from my usual work which turned out to have some positives that came along with the free time I had. I was able to put a lot more time into music and was able to really focus on this project. During that time I wrote and recorded my first album and kinda changed the path I wanted Blume to head down.

Where are you from, and do you think where you live effects the music you make?

I’m from Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada. It’s a great city with a vibrant music scene, especially within the more experimental genres. One great thing about Edmonton is that you really experience all the seasons; Summer is full of long sunny days, Fall you get the crisp weather with the colors changing everywhere, Winter is full of snow and night falls early, and spring brings the warm weather and rain to thaw everything out. The change of seasons is always something that gives me a burst of creative energy so it’s nice to have.

Can you tell me how exactly you make music? It’s all DIY, right?

Yeah, it’s all DIY for the most part. I did have my pal Zach Budinski handle the mastering for my first album, but other than that everything has been done by myself. Everything is all self recorded in my spare bedroom on a simple 2 input interface that connects to my computer where I use free software to record. Normally the songs start with no real intention or solid idea in mind. I will just be playing around on whatever instrument it is that time and when I hear something I like I’ll try to build something off that either capturing loops or elaborating more on the part. Majority of my songs are really simple one chord songs at the core, utilizing layers to make the songs sound bigger and more varied.  

How did you start, and when was the moment you started reaching out into the world with your music?

I started Blume as a side project back in 2014 as a means to work on music outside of a band situation. It was a good way to learn and grow in areas I didn’t know and to have an outlet for the ideas I had that I could work on in my own time. I was playing in groups as well but wanted to do my own thing on the side. I released my first EP back in 2015 and released a few more up until 2020. Then in 2021 I released my first album, Synthetic Sounds For The Modern Soul, and have been focusing on this project much more heavily since. 

How did you started getting influenced by psychedelic music? The reason I ask is because your music sounds like it was influenced by oldschool Kraut rock like Cluster and Neu! and you don’t hear that all that often 😉

Psychedelic music has been something around me as long as I can remember. My parents were into a lot of the classic bands but groups like Pink Floyd, Hendrix, and The Beatles always really stood out to me. I myself didn’t really start making psych music until I heard bands like the Velvet Underground and The Stooges in my late teens and I haven’t looked back since. Also good ear, I definitely was influenced by krautrock groups, especially Neu! And Cluster, I really enjoy how they tended to stay away from the usual song structures and really create hypnotic atmospheres using repetition and simplicity. That is something that has influenced me in a huge way.

What are some of your favorite contemporary artists?

Sonic Boom and Spiritualized are obvious ones. There are a tonne of great groups out there right now though. Bands like Moon Duo, The KVB, Holydrug Couple, Cheval Sombre, Black Market Karma, and A Place To Bury Strangers are all bands that are constantly in my rotation. So many great artists out there I could go on and on.

The new album Waves Of Love was intended to play live, right? Are you following through on that intention? I for one would love to see Blume one day!

Yeah, that is one thing I kinda had in the back of my mind when making this album. I wanted things to be a bit more energetic and with more drums so when I did play live it gave people something to bob their heads too. I got a couple shows lined up for this summer so I’m excited for that and to try the new material in front of an audience.

What are you looking forward to in 2022? And in 2023?

This year I’m excited to be back to playing live again and to have put the new album out into the world. For 2023 I am working on another album so hopefully that will all come together and be ready for next year.

What should the Weirdo Shrine reader do after reading this interview?

Check out my new album Waves Of Love!


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