LUCIANBLOMKAMP is caught in the darkest point of his trilogy with ‘Doing This For You’
Melbourne producer LUCIANBLOMKAMP is currently in the midst of his most ambitious project to date, the triptych album, Sick of What I Don’t Understand. He released the first instalment of that project towards the latter half of last year, and today he’s shared the second. For a producer whose cinematic, dark soundscapes often move like individual suites within a larger whole, the rollout makes complete sense. It also allows LUCIANBLOMKAMP to play with scale in exciting ways: instead of releasing a bunch of tracks, carelessly thrown together in a tracklisting from which you pick your favourites, he’s forcing us to focus on the evolutionary, transformative properties of an album’s narrative progression. So we’re being invited to develop an extended engagement with the work – first, with the individual tracks, then with the separate movements of the trilogy, and finally as a complete product.
But where the first part of LUCIANBLOMKAMP’s trilogy exuded a kind of neon-lit serenity as the producer made brief but surprisingly buoyant forays into pop territory, the second piece – call it his Dark Knight or his Empire Strikes Back – oozes with a more sombre, reflective and ominous tone. “‘Part 2’ is the emotional and tonal turning point in the [Sick of What I Don’t Understand] series – the initial transition from dark to light,” the producer says.
The second instalment of a trilogy normally represents the darkest, lowest point of the narrative – this structure is an established convention within writing but LUCIANBLOMKAMP’s appropriation of it to his own music ultimately speaks to the cohesive development of Sick of What I Don’t Understand as a fully mapped out project. Appropriately, then, ‘Doing This For You’, the closing track off the album, immediately sets this darkness in motion, opening with an apocalyptic, rumbling drone that sounds like slow settling of a total eclipse of the sun.
The track lurches forward, constantly moving at a breathless, precipitous pace with arpeggiated pianos falling in the background and a mutant, percussive breakbeat. The result is dizzying and claustrophobic; save for a brief few seconds when the track cuts out completely around the halfway mark, LUCIANBLOMKAMP leaves you little space to breath as a gloom settles in over the track. ‘Doing This For You’ is in constant motion, but it’s moving towards some portentous, undesirable end. You get the sense that it really doesn’t want to go there, but that, sounding almost completely deflated, it’s maybe lost the impetus to fight itself any longer.
Here, LUCIANBLOMKAMP employs the vocals of rising Melbourne singer-songwriter ELIOTT to embody this sensation, giving her voice the production treatment he’s given 6LACK and BANKS in the past. Eliott does an astonishing job – her vocals somehow soar about the propulsive, intricate instrumental whilst at the same time sounding devoid of air. “What’s the point now that you’re with her? / Killed myself to be better / But I’m still doing this for you / Why am I doing this for you?,” she repeats towards the track’s escalating climax, giving language to the track’s weary malaise.
Leaving its pessimism with little in the way of clean resolutions, ‘Doing This For You’ naturally begs the question of where LUCIANBLOMKAMP goes from here in the context of the whole Sick of What I Don’t Understand narrative. We’ll have to wait until the third instalment is released to find out, but one thing is already evident – his experiment is clearly paying off.
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