An album of his own songs, Touch Screens, that celebrates our addiction to pornography.
Music by Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, the Turn-Ons, NighTraiN, the Moondoggies, the Lights.
No gear, a nomadic way of life, and a band that's just him and Irene Barber.
As the city entered dusk on the last Saturday in April, the lights inside of the Pacific Science Center's Laser Dome came alive and began dancing to the otherworldly beats of Shabazz Palace's second album, Lese Majesty. Though the lights above did everything they could to amaze the audience, they were no match for the beauty and wonder of the new music, which had been coproduced, mixed, and engineered by a man sitting in the middle of the third row back from the laser DJs. This man, Erik Blood, was all ears. And despite having worked on Lese Majesty for six months, his mood and manner gave the impression that he wasn't finished yet, that his mind was still listening, thinking, and reworking an album that I and many others already believed was well on its way to being the best album of 2014. (Sub Pop drops Lese Majesty on July 29.)
Blood, who is also a composer and musician, has worked with Shabazz Palaces from their inception, back in 2009, produced a number of local indie bands (most notably the Moondoggies), and in 2012 released his own album, Touch Screens, a masterpiece of 21st-century pop. Each track on this album is broadly catchy, but also carefully, thoughtfully, deeply organized. Indeed, his best work can be described as a big and gorgeous flower whose creator is only visible in the small details, the intricate patterns, the subtle structures.
Blood has also worked his magic with THEESatisfaction, Vox Mod, and NigTraiN, and is currently mixing an album by Nightmare Fortress, a local gothic electro band, at a studio in the heart of the Old Rainier Brewery. The studio itself is a work of art. It's dark and black, and has a carpet that reaches the border between good taste and cheesiness—but somehow manages to never cross the line, never leave the land of good taste.
When I visited Blood at the studio, which he calls "heaven," he provided some details of his past. He was born in Tacoma, raised in a family as racially mixed as the music he engineers and produces, and educated in the science of music production at the Art Institute of Seattle. He first worked with Mountain Con, and then later the Lights, and this led to him working with the Moondoggies. Listening to the sound, structure, and production techniques of many of these works, his own albums, and also the soundtrack he made for the film Center of Gravity, it's clear that, when it comes to thinking about music, Blood has one of the deepest minds in our city.