Blanck Mass is the solo project of Fuck Buttons' Benjamin John Power, who began making music under that name in 2010. The project's 2011 self-titled debut, which he recorded in his apartment, featured ambient, droning electronic music that managed to be more abstract, yet often more accessible, than his work with Fuck Buttons. "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. For the second Blanck Mass album, Power wrote and recorded songs in Fuck Buttons' Space Mountain studio as well as his home in Edinburgh; inspired by "the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state," Dumb Flesh arrived in 2015. Power curated the re-score for the giallo film The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, which also featured contributions from Roll the Dice and Konx-om-Pax and was released by Death Waltz in 2015. That year also saw the release of the Great Confuso EP, an exploration of death and what may come after it. 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 the emotions and melodies of his music. ~ Heather Phares
9 albums sorted by Most acclaimed
Narrow my search
Electronic/Dance - Released August 16, 2019 | Sacred Bones Records
With Fuck Buttons and as Blanck Mass, Benjamin John Power has always had a gift for channeling intense emotions with instrumentation that's often thought of as cold and clinical. In particular, his solo work for Sacred Bones uses electronics to plunge into compelling moods -- the surprising sensuality of Dumb Flesh, the outrage of World Eater, and the juxtapositions of grief, horror, and humor on Animated Violence Mild. That album title is both a warning and a promise: The violent streak in Power's music is well-known, and extremely well-represented here by "Death Drop," a lengthy assault that incorporates the relentless thrust of industrial metal's double kick drums and throat-shredding vocals and some of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's whooshing sound design into a juggernaut full of crazed intensity and deadpan wit. However, Power is just as skilled at finding the beauty in destruction, and that side of his music takes the lead on Animated Violence Mild. Huge, immediate synth melodies dominate tracks such as "House vs. House," which even adds actual verses and choruses to Blanck Mass' music with results that call to mind HEALTH's doomsday pop, and "No Dice," where crashing beats and chromatic percussion twinkle like broken glass. As on his previous albums, Animated Violence Mild showcases Power's mastery of complex combinations of sounds and moods. "Creature/West Fuqua" shifts from a deluge of synths to harp and the fractured vocal samples Power used so well on World Eater to fascinating effect; while it's the album's shortest song, it might be the most unnerving. On the standout "Love Is a Parasite," Power reimagines "Death Drop"'s fury as a club-ready banger with a lunging beat and surprisingly jaunty handclaps. He brings the album full circle with "Wings of Hate," a finale that sounds anthemic and furious in both senses of the word. In many ways, Animated Violence Mild feels like the inevitable sequel to World Eater. Where that album used the full force of Power's music to rail against the world's injustices, this one reflects the resignation, frustration, and emotional overload of its time in its startling and moving tracks. ~ Heather Phares
Electronic/Dance - Released March 3, 2017 | Sacred Bones Records
Just in case there were any doubts that electronic music can have as much of a political voice as other genres, Blanck Mass silences them with World Eater. Inspired by the shock and upheaval that surrounded Brexit and other nationalist political movements that emerged in 2016, Benjamin John Power transforms furious noise, drones, and the surprisingly danceable elements of Dumb Flesh into vivid portraits of division and turmoil that sound big enough to engulf a planet and intricate enough to consume it from within. Power has always excelled at pitting sonic extremes against each other, but these contrasts have rarely sounded as meaningful -- or disorienting -- as they do on World Eater, where wildly divergent elements sit next to each other like red and blue states and collide with each other in fascinating ways. Like the unnatural calm before all hell breaks loose in a horror movie, "John Doe's Carnival of Error" begins the album with a delicate melody that feels descended from "Tubular Bells." It sets the stage perfectly for the nine-minute exorcism that is "Rhesus Negative," where pummeling, screeching electronics are joined by choral vocals and a celestial countermelody in what sounds like the ultimate showdown between good and evil. It's one of Power's most exciting pieces of music to date, but World Eater's most thought-provoking moments aren't always the harshest. As the album's midsection dips into prettier territory, Power soothes listeners as much as he shocks them, bringing emotions to the fore. "The Rat" is Blanck Mass' version of synth-pop, pairing stomping jock-rock beats and a sugary melody with alternately menacing, amusing, and poignant results, while the haunting "Please" and "Silent Treatment" surround strangely affecting vocal snippets that sound like they escaped from an R&B track with woozy synth textures and percussion that crunches like snapping jaws. Despite World Eater's extreme palette, what Power expresses with these sounds isn't black-and-white (although his suggestion to "Please support your local LGBT and animal rights organizations" in the liner notes tells his audience where his sympathies lie). The luminous "Hive Mind" closes the album on a beautifully ambivalent note, the poignancy of its swelling vocals making it even more unsettling. Considering his legacy, it's all the more impressive that Power found even more challenging places to go with his music, but World Eater's focused chaos is some of his finest work yet. ~ Heather Phares
News feed Prev. Next
Thu Qobuz | Highwomen: A Most Successful HeistTue Qobuz | Ashley Henry & The Night of The Vinyl HunterMon Qobuz | L'Epee: Live By The Sword, Jive By The Sword?
Sat Qobuz | Lower Dens' Fabulous RevoltWed Qobuz | Center Didn't Hold ...
Tue Qobuz | Sun Rings : The Overview Effect, In MusicMon Qobuz | Wallace Roney Celebrates The Jazz Youth
Fri Qobuz | Robert Randolph's Steely ResolveThu Qobuz | Taylor Swift Gets PoliticalWed Qobuz | Bombay Bicycle Club Is Open For Business