Blanck Mass: Dumb Flesh (Sacred Bones Records)
LP | CD | DL
One half of Fuck Buttons releases his second solo record. Louder Than War’s Simon Tucker reviews.
Dumb Flesh is the second full-length album by Benjamin John Power under his Blanck Mass moniker. Many will know Benjamin from his work as one half of Fuck Buttons (with Andrew Hung) and if you are fan of the duo’s music then Dumb Flesh will only reaffirm that fondness. Dumb Flesh is also a great starting point for those new to his work as it encapsulates everything that the duo are about whilst broadening the sonic scope into warmer and richer territories.
The sludge reverse of opener, Loam is a perfect example as it grinds its way into you making you feel queasy and as submerged voice tries desperately to become coherent and audible but never quite managing to make it. The sound of slapping flesh, Loam plays out like the final act of the 1989 film Society and is quite an unsettling listen which does show glimmers of light but light that is uncomfortable and scatter-shot.
Light is something that is hard to find on Dumb Flesh as it most certainly dwells in the darkness with heavy, oppressive production throughout and it is only on tracks Double Cross and Lung where we do get brief respites from the intensity.
Another aspect of the album is its ability to get you locked into a groove whether that be on highlight track No Lite which shimmies and twists allowing a piece of music to become a transitive experience or the industrial disco of Dead Format (highly reminiscent of Power’s recent remix of Mogwai’s Remurdered) the aforementioned Double Cross or even the warped, meditative Lung which allows beautiful flutters of instrumentation to caress and entice whilst maintaining a level of deep distrust.
Closing track, Detritus is where the glorious nature of Noise culture is fully realized on the album and is a succinct and perfect choice to close proceedings as it not only displays the skill in which Power has of creating these sonic onslaughts but also shows his level of control and pacing.
Dumb Flesh is an album that requires multiple listens as it is so layered and complex that one listen through just wont allow you to fully grasp its intentions.