Welcome to the Salt Flats. A place within Utah that has real resonance to New York solo artist Mal Blum, its densely packed salt pan gives pleasure with one hand and pain in another. The crust of salty soil that formed when Lake Bonneville dried up possesses both pain and pleasure within its finings – “You rub salt in wounds then you lick it away” Blum sings contrasting how the salt could be a remnant of emotionally bruising words and a seasoning to make someone feel better about having said them.
Drawing a location in a listener’s mind is no easy skill. It’s something Brooklyn’s Emily A Sprague (Florist) has in buckets, honestly if you knew the countless number of times I’ve dreamt about New York’s Catskill mountains after listening to their song ‘Glowing Brightly’ – ‘Catskill mountains, I will always come back to you…what a place, what a place for us, forest, fields, oceans and lakes.’ Florist paints the mountains in vivid, brushing strokes and Blum takes cues from their counterpart, singing ‘The soft flats are endless’ evoking beautifully the 30,000 acres the salt spreads across – the salt flats are all-consuming, you’re not simply an observer but instead part of the very nature that surrounds you.
The music itself is timbral putting Blum front and centre. It possesses a slowly wandering style reminiscent of Free Cake for Every Creature, represented best by the strung-out guitar at the midpoint. The voice, words and imagery are everything here though. You can feel the salt filtering through your fingers, the water wushing up against the salt pan, the birds singing overhead. A dreamworld.