Ilana Blumberg wrote these songs in 2016. In 2017, they were arranged into a live set and performed twice, with Jake Coleman (guitar) and Nancy Barnes (drums). The set was then recorded live (by Daniel Blumberg), mixed (by Billy Steiger), and mastered (by Marta Salogni) to make this EP. They have not performed since.
This music manages to combine exposed-bone rawness with a playful, almost sardonic edge. Ilana's melodies and lyrics paint a sincere, heartbreaking alt-country picture, while the group's wilfully naive instrumentation pokes-and-prods that well-worn formula, scrawling chaotic audio scribbles, punctuated by unnervingly blank empty space.
A multidisciplinary artist, Ilana is also an emerging fashion designer and textile artist with work featured in Vogue, Marfa Journal, and the 50m Concept Store. After completing a Fine Art Diploma at Chelsea College of Arts in 2016 - just after the Ilana EP was written - she honed in on the medium of knitting, using wool from sheep, alpaca and dogs.
Everydayest Knitwear, her 2019 collection lookbook was shot by Rory Cole with makeup by Crystabel Riley. Alongside this she has made bespoke clothing for musical artists such as Porridge Radio and Naked, and worked as knitwear designer with Holly Liz Davies on collections by Mimi Wade, Charlotte Knowles and Ashley Williams, across AW19 - AW20.
Both Blumberg’s music and design feed into one another: the disparate corners of her practice inadvertently overlap. The chaotic winding of the EP’s instrumentation is echoed by the playful construction of her knitwear. In both, with calculated innocence, she carves a complex picture from simple parts. The EP’s strategically winding melodies, laid over blunt building blocks, reflect in her rugged but tenderly crafted clothing; the coarse natural materials echoing the raw, naked recording.
In her live performances, the two disciplines overlap further. She has performed as part of a loose collective centered around London’s Cafe Oto, most recently producing CAST-ON with frequent collaborator Tom Wheatley. This featured double bassists playing inside a giant unravelling knitted dress, and a ‘consort’ of semi-synchronised machine-knitters creating a maze of mechanical noise.
Besides this, Ilana sang on Yuck’s 2009 debut album and played many key live dates with them, and has also played live as part of Daniel Blumberg’s live ensemble.
There are so many things I could say about why this album is absolutely perfect. But to keep it short, single-handedly the most depressing album I've listened to, but also the most fantastic album I've listened to. Would highly recommend to anyone willing to give it a listen. mcdoob