Music ReviewsAlt Bloom’s “text talk touch” f/ gnash is 2020’s Relationships Embodied

Mark DignamSeptember 21, 2020

LA and proud, Ethan Thompson, AKA Alt Bloom, teams up with rapper gnash, to produce a mild-mannered sizzler, “text talk touch” through Big MTN Records. An unabashed summer love song that deserves to live well beyond the warmer months of any year, it becomes the video metaphor for “this” particular summer with it’s socially distanced romantic leads courting through their phones.

Checking through some of Bloom’s past acoustic performances, one can see him at times teether on the edge of a post Dave Matthews, college boy, singer songwriter cliff-face. This explosion, soon after the arrival of the big M, proceeded to bore the bejaysus out of us for much of the 90s and I fear Bloom, at the very least, knows this travesty exists. But in fairness it’s a mild critique of the man as it’s a catastrophe he manages, quite deftly, to avoid with actual musicality, as he begins to layer on his overdubs. Bloom gives more than proficient nods to the worlds of R&B, Hip Hop and Jazz without stepping on any toes. There are faint touches of the past and polite additions of the sounds of today, all swirling joyfully around a very present storyline. “text talk touch” communicates a simple idea, an old story; the tension of a love, that can’t yet be, but Bloom slides back the curtains of his slick production aesthetic, to reveal a solid update to the love struck Romeo motif, and you really do start to see the sunrise over Malibu. He’s a purveyor of pretty boy pop, but what “text talk touch” has got to say in terms of sonic textures, well crafted lyrics, and highly infections melodies, is mildly poetic in itself. The extended gnash cameo, as the third wheel, also felt like a natural pairing that probably should happen again, at some future juncture. Get a socially distanced coffee somewhere, and talk that out people…

Bloom never dresses himself up too much, perhaps as a nose-thumbing to the outrageous glitz of the historic movie town he obviously loves. His country boy next door look is juxtaposed with his solid modernity, as if somewhere along the line he got the smart idea to put down the bongos on the beach and sidle up to those odd people, lost in the transfixing world of beat programing. Bloom pulls off the look and the sound effortlessly and we’re all the better for it.

The case in favor of this track is not at all harmed with the video directed by deft, eye candy merchant, and gaming movie maker, David Dutton. The Maestro of nostalgic film production plumbs the depths of phone culture with slick editing, pitch perfect lighting, and flawless composition. Bloom and Dutton’s penchant for the marriage of old and new is a match made in pop culture heaven. There is nothing about this video that does not work.

So, to sum it all up “text talk touch” is a beautiful slide through the summer that wasn’t, and it poignantly points to our shared sense of isolation overall. That perhaps the upside down nature of the world is just too great right now, for relationships to push through everything else. It has stratospheric potential with an extravagantly talented artist who deserves to rise and rise. Dear, Big MTN Records, please put this team together again sometime very soon.