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Blanck Mass

As Blanck Mass, Benjamin John Power takes the anthemic melodies and heroic doses of noise he pioneered with Fuck Buttons in thought-provoking, ever-changing directions. Though he introduced the project with the amorphous drones of 2011's self-titled album, 2015's Dumb Flesh explored mortality and decay with chopped-up vocal samples and heavy beats that flirted with danceability. Whether railing against political injustice on 2017's World Eater or yearning for connection on 2021's In Ferneaux, Blanck Mass' music is, above all, musically and emotionally intense. Growing up in Worcester, England, Power was a fan of post-rock bands. In particular, Mogwai influenced the music he made as a teen. He and Andrew Hung formed Fuck Buttons after meeting at art school in 2004, and the duo went on to release the critically acclaimed Street Horrrsing in 2008 and Tarot Sport in 2009. While Fuck Buttons were on hiatus in 2010, Power began making music as Blanck Mass. The ambient, droning electronic music he recorded in his apartment became the project's self-titled debut album, which Mogwai's Rock Action label issued in 2011. More abstract, yet often more accessible than his work with Fuck Buttons, Blanck Mass received favorable reviews as well as comparisons to Brian Eno and Ghost Box's roster of artists. "Sundowner," a track from the album, was used during the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, along with "Olympians" from Fuck Buttons' album Tarot Sport. That year, the "White Math/Polymorph" single arrived via Software Recording Co. After Fuck Buttons released their third album, 2013's Slow Focus, Power began work on Blanck Mass' second album, which was written and recorded in Fuck Buttons' Space Mountain studio as well as at his home in Edinburgh. Inspired by "the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state," 2015's Dumb Flesh marked a major step forward for Blanck Mass and incorporated the glitchy vocal samples and danceable beats. That year also saw the release of the Great Confuso EP, an exploration of death and what may come after it, and Power's re-score of the giallo film The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, which also featured contributions from Roll the Dice and Konx-om-Pax. In 2016, Blanck Mass contributed "D7-D5" to that year's Adult Swim Singles Club. The following year, Power issued World Eater, a fittingly apocalyptic commentary on the political tumult of the late 2010s. He followed it with 2019's Animated Violence Mild, which showcased his melodic skills and the emotional impact of his music. 2020 saw him return to soundtracks, releasing the brooding and moving score to Nick Rowland's Calm with Horses. After being isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Power started to look back on a decade's worth of field recordings from his tours around the world. Bringing together the feeling of connection with a rousing and pulsating mix of synths, drones, and beats, he recorded two long-form pieces. The resulting album, In Ferneaux, was issued in early 2021 on Sacred Bones. The following year, Power's first official film score, for the Irish crime drama Calm with Horses (released in the U.S. as The Shadow of Violence), combined his electronic style with emotive orchestral and acoustic instrumentation. When lockdowns due to the COVID-19 global pandemic forced Power to return home from touring, he performed live streaming sets and set to work on another album. Released in February 2021, In Ferneaux's ambitious, suite-like tracks used a decade's worth of field recordings he captured while on the road.
© Heather Phares /TiVo
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