Mart Avi - Blade (Porridge Bullet)

Mart Avi – Blade (Porridge Bullet)

The follow-up to 2020’s Vega Never Sets is another beautifully sublime album from the well-regarded Estonian avant-pop force that is Mart Avi.

As with previous albums, this is music that continues to confound your expectations. Opener and earlier single ‘Feline’ makes you wonder if this whole album is a sublime Springtime Sunday smooth listen. Which it is, yet next track ‘Lost Weekend’ manages to be both chillout and feel like it could be for the dance floor at the same time. This is perhaps one of Avi’s greatest skills – managing to be two completely different things and yet completely in sync at the same time. It’s music for the feet and for the heart, for living and loving. This is music that comes from leftfield, yet at the same time (and with the usual marketing gubbins) could be a major commercial success if it wanted to…nobody wants to just be reduced to being put in a box, after all.

Just as impressive is the fact that this is pretty well a one person show, with Avi being listed as being the writer, performer and producer. ‘Big Sleep’ is perhaps the standout track here, in a very strong album. It starts off with a reggae influence that echoes the title track of Bob Marley’s Exodus, before a vocal comes in that mixes both the late and lamented Billy Mackenzie and Mark Hollis over a backing track that is early Smith & Mighty meets prime Massive Attack. Though having held this up as the strongest track here I could submit this review and change my mind entirely tomorrow. After all, the album’s last track ‘Tides‘ is an excellent closer.

There’s so many ideas here that it’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall trying to process them all. But this is no Sisyphean listening project, but rather like being able take part in something pleasurable again and again. Perhaps it’s most likely to be considered electronica, but is that label itself a final attempt to try and pin things down where others have failed?

To be honest, my only fault with this album is that it’s too short. Perhaps this is a result of too many decades where people thought they should try and fill a compact disc, but even holding that up as a weakness seems churlish, when a) it means that there is no wasted space on here and b) it gives the listener the opportunity to simply start playing the album again from the beginning. It clocks in at less than forty minutes and it just seems to have been so brief.

Whatever your standard tastes, prioritise listening to this album now.

Mart Avi – Tides – YouTube

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