When the fourteen tracks of The Fifth of She, the beguiling and bewildering debut cassette of Clark Blomquist as Tegucigalpan, spool to an end, you may feel like you've made a new friend. More specifically, it may seem that you've sat in Blomquist's living room late at night, a drink in hand, and asked Blomquist to play his favorite records for you. Before dawn, the selections skip from iterative techno to high-flying metal, from narcotized dirges to subdued pop experimentalism, from ambient hum to scorching psych. Bleary-eyed, you leave confused but delighted, your mind imagining connective threads that may or may not exist.
Blomquist might already be familiar from his work in several top-caliber area acts. He was a staple of the formidably graceful The Kingsbury Manx and, until recently, the howling second guitarist of Spider Bags. In the duo Waumiss, he helped make delightful messes of melodies and electronics.
Still, the sheer variety and level of accomplishment on The Fifth of She is surprising, like a thoughtful gift in the mail when it's not even your birthday. The record's first half crisscrosses the hard rock spectrum, each song refracted through Blomquist's other loves. "Goldy, Consumes All Things" is outlandish thrash metal, like Voivod scoring a brain-baked road trip through the Southwest. "WURGG" sounds like the work of a tough-guy, roadhouse Southern rock band stuck without gravity in outer space. Blomquist's voice floats over Built to Spill-like college rock during the invigorating "A Device," a song that sports a guitar harmony so sharp you may want it to last forever, as though it's reelin' in the years.
But nine minutes of blown-out, drugged-up acoustic blues serve as the unlikely transition into the record's equally unlikely second half, a curving trail through sample-based bedlam. Blomquist spins sheets of noise and mangled voices beneath the hard-hitting "She Said No" but sings soft, celestial lines above the stuttering clip of "Petunia, I will make you tall." He alternately summons Panda Bear's Beach Boys love and serrated industrial noise.
When the slowly disintegrating signal of closer "Rechazo En Ambas" finally dies, you rub your ears and eyes, as if the living-room listening session has ended, wondering what exactly you've just heard. So much, really.