From behind hooded, smartly dressed figures and ghostly-veiled forms, Blood Cultures orchestrate a kind of pseudo-cinematic experience within their dynamic soundscapes. Under the guise of their anonymity—which shrouds even the nature of the artist(s); is it a single creator or a collective?
Blood Culture Perform at The Echo, Los Angeles on Nov. 15
Blood Cultures are lucid in the intentionality of their hidden self or selves. Their manifesto—which sits in place on press releases of a bio—outlines in detail that intention: “We choose to be the blank canvas. We want our listeners to find their own significance in the pieces by looking inwardly and seeking the answers within themselves rather than from us: disclosing the context of the work could shatter the individual’s distinct value of the piece that they have created for themselves. There is only one true meaning, and it is that which the listener has concluded is their truth.”
And so Blood Cultures places the purpose, the meaning, and essentially the truth of their music in the hands of their listeners; but not in any bleakly post-modern sense that laments over the death of universal truths by the rise of fragmented pluralism. Instead Blood Cultures finds something deeply connective about everyone—including the artist—beginning with this blank slate of meaning and identity. And in all candidness, they don’t see their anonymity as anything particularly revolutionary—with the exception that theirs is deeply intentional.
“I think so many artists these days lose their own identity and artistic integrity by painting their faces to the pallets of the latest trends and thus drive attention to themselves rather than the work they create. We wanted to comment on this all while creating a persona of visual arts not based around an ego or persona. That was the goal at least. But the truth is: we’re just very, very ugly.”
Anonymity by way of “fabricated” social media presences—which to Blood Cultures doesn’t equal identity in the slightest—is rampant in our society already. They create their “persona, an aesthetic, and let it represent [them]” in the same way any other artist would: “We’re creating art. We’re creating deception. Just like everyone else.”
But Blood Cultures’ anonymity—and desire to allow their listeners to impose their own meaning upon the music—doesn’t mean their songs are devoid of any innate meaning within themselves. The truth of the music might vary, but the beauty of it is inherent.
Blood Cultures are from a jumbled mess of vague sounds and trite electronica; there’s not much to compare them too and that’s kind of the point. They exist somewhere between the avant-garde, off-kilter melodies and potent lyricism of Yeasayer, mixed with the narrative use of samples and heady mixes of Neat Beats—and even then they exist wrapped in their own universe, an echo of an echoed transmission that plays itself on loop simultaneously at the cosmic and molecular level.
Blood Cultures’ recent endeavor ‘Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs’ operates on such micro and macrocosmic levels—it’s an album that gets at the DNA of existence and grows ever more grandiose as it attempts to reconcile a universe of colliding dualities and dichotomies. In true Blood Cultures fashion, they’re reluctant to divulge just what—exactly—these opposing forces are, but there are plenty to choose from and it’s easy to find your own in the music—phantasms conjured up in the sonics—for your uncertain self to wrestle.
“I like to think of the album title as a paraphrasing of: “Oh uncertainty, within you. Without you, a universe despairs.” While it may seem bleak, it has an underlying positive message. The concept of the album is an introspective conversation between two sides that must coexist because they share the same space. Both sides embody the opposite end of one another. These conversations can be sometimes loving and sometimes hateful. We have the capacity for both of these massive extremes. I think the sounds are the byproduct of this narrative. Or maybe it’s the other way around.”
The only truth that Blood Cultures seem to endorse is that of uncertainty: “The insecurity of not being sure about anything around you. Who you are, what you’re supposed to do, where you come from, etc.” And without delving into their own personal beliefs, political ideals, or even philosophical understandings of the way this universe operates, Blood Cultures manage to capture the thrumming, anxious and desperate sentiment of our time—and perhaps, much of history.
From the onset of Blood Cultures new album, opening track “Elegant Aliens” brings us to the uncertainty of human origin and by extension human purpose. They bathe their lofty musings in jumpy, illustriously melodic compositions of strings and electronica, and pose as much in their lyricism as their soundscapes the melancholia of the fragile precariousness of our lives.
And yet even as the universe despairs, Blood Cultures remind us of the connectivity we have and the comfort—even in such shared worry—that it brings. The loop goes unbroken; on album ender “Never Ending,” after the crescendo of the album begins to disappear into the horizon, Blood Cultures offers one last repose: “And when I’m drifting / Out of the sky, just lost and missing / You know exactly where I’m heading / You’re the place I call home.”
Uncertainty tempered with such sweet, hopeful certainties as these: of home, of the ones we know, is our home, of the things we know, will bring us through the dark cold cosmos even as we spin seemingly without aim. And if full circle is where we’re bound, then such a moment of certainty—like a life-saver in an ocean of uncertainty—would not look much different from Blood Cultures own hope for what their music might be for you:
“When you’re out and about, and you’re distracted, maybe driving or hanging at a café, or your local Hot Topic and a you hear a song and you just need to know what it is and you’re compelled to find it and add it to your playlist and show it to everyone you know. When this happens, you don’t know the artists, or their story, or what they look like even. You are just connected with that song, almost like in a vacuum without context. No one telling you what to do or why you should like something, it’s just you and the music. It’s yours and you found it, like treasure. We’ve always wanted to be like a photograph that you found on the street – trash to some, but framed forever by others.”
Blood Cultures will be going on tour this fall with a Los Angeles stop at The Echo on November 15. Supporting Blood Cultures are MyKey and Lecx Stacy. Blood Culutres’ debut album Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs is out now. Visit Blood Cultures’ website, Facebook, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.