PHOTOS: JOE DILWORTH


FROM THE HEART: Miss AMP talks freckly tits and gender politics with the queen of the confessional loop, Kevin Blechdom.

I don't much like being called mad. I'm funny like that. I don’t like being accused of being a psycho bitch from hell; being compared by a boy I hardly know to a nutter who flung pots at his head.

I don't much like asking what seems to be a pretty innocuous question and getting The Look instead: a Look I might expect if I had, I don't know, ripped open the buttons of my summer frock, hoiked my tits out of their ribbon-trimmed aqua balconette brassiere, and started rubbing handfuls of raw meat into my exposed areolae while wailing 'Are you fucking with me? OR ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME?' at the top of my lungs. I guess I'm just unusual.

I particularly don't like someone comparing arguing with me to the experience of listening to Kevin Blechdom's new album, 'Eat My Heart Out'. I mean: have you heard it?

Kevin Blechdom doesn't mind being called mad, because, for the purposes of that album, she was. I mean, not mental asylum straight-jackets thinking everybody's taping you through radios in your fillings kind of mad - the other kind.

The whimpering sobbing caught-on-a-loop not-eating shattering lying-on-pavements utterly broken kind of crazy you only get after the Big Relationship Break-Up. Everyone gets that at least once. Even boys.

Eat My Heart Out is an electronical masterpiece which mixes homegrown laptop ditties with country songs, pirate shanties, electro-skronk anthems, max/msp synthesis exercises and heartfelt achy-breaky ballads: yeah, mad alright, and that's just the music: we haven't even got to the lyrics yet.

It's brilliant-mad; funny, cute, ironic, menacing: danceable-mad. It speeds up. It slows down. It loops a single voice into an army of voices all attempting to out-do each other to meet the high notes; and every song's got at least three different inter-related sections, if not more.

There are songs written and recorded on nitrous oxide, songs where the artist didn't even know what she'd said till she played the recording back, where you can hear her gasping and whimpering as she sucks the laughing gas out of the balloon and into her lungs. ROCK. And…mad. 

 

As for the album's subject matter… Eat My Heart Out is a twisted kind of one-woman off-off-Broadway music hall show about the break-up of a long-distance relationship.

We're talking raw emotional states, clinical depression, near-hysteria: you know: feelings and all that they entail, from the over-saturated metaphors ('Youuuu are my torrrrtttuuuure / and IIIIII am your chhaaaaammmber / get OUT of me' she squeals, operatically) and hideous moments of clarity ( 'I don't wanna get over you / but I'm so scared that I might have to / in order for me to get on with me / I can't wait around indefinitely'), to the nauseatingly repetitive loops of the futile crush ('I want out of this situation I can't stop thinking about… are you fucking with me? Or are you fucking with me?', etc ad infinitum). Phew!

And yet, even though it's dealing with serious, horrible shit, the album's also funny - piss-takey and irreverent, sticky with irony and self-mockery and awareness of cliché, like the mortifying moment you realise you've been reading your sister's copy of 'He's Just Not That Into You' and actually underlining things.

But, you know, the creative female has been accused of being mad so fucking often - a hysterical harpy: disturbed, hormonal, her own muse before she is an artist - think Sylvia Plath, think Tracy Emin, think Anne Sexton - that it's tempting to want to reconfigure this album's outpouring in a post-modern, death of the author kind of way.

No of course Kevin Blechdom's not mad, dear - she's just playing with the notion of the female confessional mode, tranforming her emotion into art through her quite considerable technical mastery.  Why, it's a mediated and deliberate self-reconstruction: not mere emotional exhibitionism, but a counter-aesthetic designed to reclaim female subjectivity - right, Kevin?

Er, nope. 'Oh, I definitely was going crazy while I was making the record', says Kevin (real name Kristin Erikson, a matter we shall go into in more detail later), in a breezy, matter-of-fact manner. 'I was pretty depressed most of the time. But I wasn't hiding the depression. I was like, I'm gonna use it, because I'm feeling that way, so fuck it.'



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Kevin Blechdom

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