Across these 7 untitled tracks (as is the modus of all blundar releases) the producer known as Unfinished Portraits crafts a coherent album experience that is equal parts empty space and density. Working in a seemingly collage-like fashion, the opening track juxtaposes rhythmic elements that just barely fit together; declaring upon entrance that all expectations from here on out are futile. Tension builds through a sparse palette of sounds both tactile and atmospheric. Dry, isolated clicks of digital clean trickling through a humming industrial space. Segments are abstract on their own, but stitched together still form an elegant whole. Just when you think you’re getting lost into avant experimentation, something cuts in to surprising effect. It feels “live” in a way only improvised music can.
And there is a conceptual sense of humor in letting the seams of the process lay bare. A string section builds only to be cut short upon completion. A field recording is audibly (i.e. intentionally) looped. The listener is made aware of the illusion and manipulations that ‘music’ creates in the same way Martin Margiela handled ‘fashion’ – with a postmodern kind of wit.
Hailing from Cairo but residing in Argentina, Unfinished Portraits could easily exude upon a dual exoticism in nationalities and climates. This is however not on the agenda, as for where this artist truly resides, is in the hypertextual realm of late capitalism. Identity loss, internet culture, the aesthetic of sadness and the Warp Records catalogue all come into play.
No matter what city, the urban landscape is always concrete and glass. And as the sleeve photo suggests – a picture of a former park turned to rubble in the process of housing developments – all cities are essentially unfinished.