Northampton, Massachusetts’ Elaine Kahn sent over a very charming mail to tell me about her “group” named Horsebladder, “consisting of myself, my keyboard, and sometimes a drum”. What at first faintly appeared like just another nice yet dilettante bedroom project instantly took my breath away after hearing the very first few bars of “Pioneer”, the gloomy, menacing opener of Kahn’s forthcoming 12 inch Not I’ll Not. Three tracks into the EP, the unsettling intimacy of “Fountains” ultimately spellbound me, with its slow-burning rhythm and tenuous synth progression, calmly meandering over the course of nearly six minutes.
The sound of Elaine Kahn’s work – who’s already released a cassette, called Nicole, last year on Night-People – is mostly eerie and dark, as is the general atmosphere, yet in a less palpable way compared to, say, (early) Zola Jesus or Chelsea Wolfe, to take rather obvious examples of contemporary female artists that slightly follow the same path as Kahn. The means to achieve the enchanting, deeply absorbing mood are stunningly simple and distinctly lo-fi, sparse patterns of analog synth, a restrained drum part and layered vocalization, all blurred and hidden behind a constant hiss of distortion and clipping, all of which adds up to a wonderfully unique, occasionally disturbing trip to the unacknowledged melancholy of your soul.