Nov 10, 2014

Dean Blunt - Black Metal (Rough Trade,2014)

The mercurial Mr. Blunt keeps everyone guessing with the 'Black Metal' follow-up to his widely acclaimed LP, 'The Redeemer' (2013). Let's get it out of the way: it's not black metal, in the cold, Northerly sense, at least. Musically, its palette actually bears more resemblance to early Factory or Rough Trade records by The Durutti Column or Scritti Politti - or even Serge Gainsbourg - than anything remotely connected to Bathory or Burzum.


 And taken in light of his oeuvre, both with Hype Williams and solo, it's actually a canny appropriation of the term, subverting pre-conceived and connoted ideas of genre, race, and sub-culture on their tired heads. The production is unfussy, dry and lo-fi - probably meaning basic Ableton or GarageBand nowadays rather than 4-track tape and guitars - but by no means limited to any one sound or bank of sounds: across 13 tracks in 53 minutes he touches on string swept pop-soul, dust bowl panoramas, synth music, dub and noise with equally profuse and diffuse results. Alongside previous single tracks, '50 Cent', 'Mersh' and 'Grade', there's big highlights in the hushed duet, 'Molly & Aquafina', the drifting 13-minute centre-piece 'Forever', and the Badalamenti-esque 'X', but they're all part of a unified body which needs to be explored in its entirety.
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