Thuistezien 302 — 12.01.2022
Goldblum’s musical world is strange, fantastical, hypnotic, and slightly surreal. Their onstage performance feels like wandering into the strangest disco-themed house party you’ve ever seen: one that seems to be on the edge of falling apart as the house starts to empty out, yet is still just about going. Or maybe their presence feels more like a half-memory from a time at a run-down club where you once drank a bit too much: the isolated images you can retain are fuzzy and fragmented, the timeline is jumbled, the situation is confusing and difficult to grasp now. Or maybe witnessing the duo can feel like wondering into a lost scene from David Lynch’s original ‘Twin Peaks’ series: a scene with a live band playing in the background, a scene conjuring a dreamy feeling of unease, and ominous, yet strangely enchanting tension. Overall, there is a hint of irony in Goldblum’s live staging, and tinged with an undeniable 80’s nostalgia that sits somewhere between tongue-in-cheek appropriation and honest sentimentality. And somewhere in these strange sensations, Goldblum creates their complex and enchanting sounds.
Based in Rotterdam, Goldblum is the duo of Marijn Verbiesen and Michiel Klein. Each of the two have appeared in a wide range of different musical projects over the years: Verbiesen is probably best known for her solo performances under the moniker Red Brut, and amongst other projects Klein is a member of the slacker-indie band Lewsberg. Both Verbiesen and Klein are also members of Sweat Tongue, a four-piece project that has the appearance of a chaotic punk band, but which reveals itself as more of an experimental noise outfit that utilizes a variety of sound-making-objects and small instruments alongside guitars and drums to put forward their abrasive clunking music. As Goldblum, the duo seems to veer toward the chaotic territory that Sweat Tongue relishes, yet manages to exhibit a more subdued intensity, one that touches onto a jagged but introspective aspect. Their music doesn’t quite allow you to just passively fade into it, but instead manages to almost thrust the listener into a hypnotic state through its choppy repetitions. They weave postmodernist mantra-like sound fragments, at times hinting at bizarre elevator muzak or vaporwave textures, yet they always seem to inhabit a sonic territory that feels very much their own.
But it isn’t songs or compositions that give shape to the duo’s music, instead it is their use of modified cassette tapes used as a performative medium which form the heart of the project. In order to build the instruments of their live set up, they source old cassette tapes from second hand stores, taking them apart and manually chopping the audio tape into short loops before piecing them back into their plastic casings. These isolated moments of found sound are then used in concert to create the hissing and warbling textures that form the backbone of their unique form of improvisation-based music. Whereas Hip-Hop turned vinyl records and turntables into instruments to create beats, Goldblum uses cassettes tapes and walkmen to create their off-kilter loops. However, if the duo’s approach was to be compared to that of any turntablist, they probably would be closer in spirit to experimental musician and artist Christian Marclay, who became famous for creating deconstructivist musical narratives by superimposing the sound of various vinyls being played synchronously. Yet, at the same time, the duo’s use of tapes also bears some resemblance to the Musique Concrète of electronic music pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, who in the 40s and 50s started cutting and splicing reel to reel audio tape to create abstract sound collages and strange looping textures. But while Schaeffer’s music has been generally relegated for use in academic study into the history of electronic music, Goldblum has managed to find a new twist for these primitive tape manipulation techniques, and given them a new life in a unique contemporary setting, which manages to branch out into a mysterious new sound world.
Goldblum’s performance was the Grand Opening in 2020, opening with four new exhibitions and a evening filling program of live music curated by Alex Andropoulos, featuring: City Dragon (CA/FR), Handle (UK), Skrot Centralen (UK), Container (VS/UK), Anni Nöps (EST/NL), Live/DJ Unit Moebius (NL) and Goldblum (NL)
Text: James Alexandropoulos - McEwan