Cole Blouin’s newest EP croons, samples, and stumbles its way along to create a weird, yet lovable, piece of music.

Cole Blouin, it seems, loves idiosyncrasy.

The New England Conservatory student packs his new EP, [OKAY MAYBE A LITTLE] (fragments of the present kaleidoscope), full of it. Take, for example, the first track, “camera roll //BELLS. [[memoryfragment]] //BELLLLS. JANUARY 2018,” which is a tranquil, scattered song, incorporating both folk and electronic elements—notably with the electro-banjo instrument that makes an appearance a couple minutes into the song.

Blouin’s song titles may be confusing, sure, but they accurately reflect the nature of the EP and its songs: jittery, frantic, and, at times, energetic. With its irregular (yet fitting) sampling, almost random percussion, screeching, Blouin’s EP ranges broadly from palatable, soft singing to tracks that might fit better on the soundtrack of a horror movie.

windowless[december2017]” is a good example; the majority of the song is filled with the noise and eerie textures mentioned before, but at the end, Blouin breaks into a beautiful vocal harmony. This sonic theme continues in “dreamtigers trio (three-note piece) OCTOBER 20&17,” where, instead of experimenting with samples and textures, Blouin creates a fragmented, endearing orchestral piece with lushly layered drums, trumpet, guitar, and other accompanying instruments. It exhibits his skill as an experimental artist both in the harsher noise sections and in the more ambient, pleasant ones.

Along the path of peaceful music is “ripples & densities (one-note piece) SEPTEM BER 2017,” which features a single note—blown by some sort of woodwind instrument—that is slowly accompanied by different sounds before finally exploding into a percussion-driven evolving amalgam of sound. Blouin finds a way to tease out vitality from even the most mundane or nondescript noises, resulting in one of the most mind-bending songs on the EP.

The EP takes yet another stylistic turn on the next two tracks, going almost completely bluegrass. The following track, “august variation (november 2016),” is a spoken word piece, “twenty seconds of treebranch sounds,” is exactly what the title says it is. It ends with a collection of stripped-down covers (of Sam Amidon, Deerhunter, and Mount Eerie) featuring just Blouin singing and playing an acoustic guitar.

Amidst the unsettling sampling and irregular percussion, Blouin transfixes the listeners with his soothing voice and mellow crooning. Even around the weirder parts of the EP, he still offers something for everybody. On a larger scale, [OKAY MAYBE A LITTLE] (fragments of the present kaleidoscope) takes elements from many different genres to create a menagerie of sounds and textures. While more frantic and scattered than most albums and EPs (and perhaps too much so for the casual listener), Blouin brings to the piece a beautiful, emotional performance that constantly surprises and excites the listener.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.