Ambient fiction
Erik Belgum
Inertia Ensemble
Catalog Number: 
spoken word

Chicago, IL

Release Date: 
Nov 20, 1999
2 CD
One Sheet: 

A spoken word opera in the tradition of Robert Ashley, W.S. Burroughs, and all those who have ever cut up text, Blodder is a kaleidoscopic, virtuosic, linguistic, theatrical composition. Two hours of circulating speech with polyphonic variations and rich cross-referencing took place in a convenience store, we gathered Blodder abandons conventional narrative for a more musical structure. Ambient fiction: story as environment. 

Blodder (a bloodier version of the word "blotter" as in "police blotter") explores the untapped theatrical and ambient musical potential of simultaneous speech, using multiple narrative viewpoints and repetitive narration as it tells four interrelated stories: a convenience store robbery gone awry, a fatal police car accident with a twist, a bed-ridden hospital patient's obsession with a TV commercial, and the eviction of a divorcing couple from a gaseous and explosive environment. Repetition clarifies the narrative at the same time as multiple perceptions are tearing it apart. 

Blodder's writer, Erik Belgum, has been referred to as being "among the best of the younger writers of fiction" by the Dictionary of the Avant-Garde and "one of the most prominent practitioners of the new radical short fiction" by the American Book Review. His ambient fiction has appeared on the ABC (Australia), BBC, CBC (Canada), Bayerischer Rundfunk's Hörspiel series (Munich), and New American Radio. He has also appeared on albums such as Aerial (IV), Sonic Circuits (IV), and on several CD's available through the Electronic Music Foundation (, including "Bad Marriage Mantra," the chamber opera "Retirement Fund" and the musical comedy sequel "Retirement Fund II: The Audit." 

For 10 years, Milwaukee's Inertia Ensemble has dedicated itself to presenting provocative and innovative productions in the Milwaukee and Chicago area. Inertia presented Belgum's Blodder in 1998. The principle of inertia states that a body at rest will stay at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion -- both until they are acted upon by an external force. Inertia Ensemble is determined to be the source of that energy. 



I had the opportunity of working on "Blodder" for the stage and the CD.With such a "odd" project,I at first felt drawn by the layers of energy that the story presented to me.Then after awhile realized that the "layers" needed an willing ear to hear the story: Be that willing ear.It will grow on you.


The very clever and judiciously mapped-out textual alternations and juxtapositions yield comical and sometimes very bizarre imagery. The results are all the more potent because the reader's inflections and characterizations are in perfect keeping with the text. - Dean Suzuki