(Photo: Tom Waterworth)
Bloodletting, the withdrawal of blood to prevent or cure disease is a radical and mostly archaic medical procedure that is only used in extreme circumstance today. It’s also the name of Baltimore based singer-songwriter Etai Fuchs’ debut album. Fuchs who writes and records under the moniker Etai is releasing Bloodletting through Blue Salt Records with a limited run of cassettes as well as a digital release. The mostly acoustic album draws heavily from lo-fi artists like Phil Elverum, early Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear and Frankie Cosmos whom Etai covers with the closing song ‘Tunnel.’ Etai muses that “this collection consists of some of my most personal songs dealing with life experiences and trauma.”
Etai’s gentle and light vocal delivery may dissuade from the heavy lyrical content on Bloodletting. Album opener, ‘I Am an Animal’ finds the narrator describing himself as a “monster” and “dreaming of magic.” The song is short and seemingly benign but a close listen provides insight into some of the withdrawal of disease Etai used as inspiration for the album. Songs like ‘Lies’ with hooks like “the water is rising and you can’t escape all of these lies” takes aim at a larger, more ominous external political culprit while “The Fold” is a more internal dispute as the narrator sings that he’s “running out of time” and allowing “the fates to decide the rest of my life.”
Bloodletting is a promising and enjoyable debut from a very talented and adventurous songwriter and has a precise blend both vocally and instrumentally of minimalism and fleshed out production. The album also covers an impressive amount of ground with genre considering the apparent minimal setup. On top of Etai’s solo production he also employs the vocal help of the talented Gabbo. Bloodletting is available now for purchase and stream on Bandcamp.