Blanck Mass – Blanck Mass (Rock Action)

Blanck Mass begins by not even sounding like music. Instead it’s icy metallic field recordings, like caverns of pipes in a bleak industrial complex. As you listen, the sound, which initially seems static, begins to evolve, other tones come into earshot, and you can hear some water bubbling below in the dark. It’s cold, purposely so, yet incrementally the music begins to make it’s presence felt, these warmer washes of synth appear, a kind of searing transcendence that comes across as a run of droning notes and becomes the thread that holds the remainder of the album together.

Blanck Mass is ambient noise music, dense and textural, yet somehow simultaneously soothing and transcendent. It’s like a bastard child of Phillip Jeck and a pre singing Eluvium, perhaps even Jean Michel Jarre if he chose to crank out the distortion from time to time. Yet there are some synth lines that recall everything from the electro acoustic world of Austria’s Mego label to Vangelis’ Blade Runner score.

It’s the work of Benjamin John Power of the Fuck Buttons, and it’s a beatless affair, a joyous suite of textural drones that is remarkably affecting. In fact there’s a real emotional and surprisingly melodic undercurrent travelling through this album that has suitably found a home on Mogwai’s label. It’s long form music; many of the pieces clock in at 7 odd minutes but could easily go on for 20 or 30 minutes more. At times it veers into symphonic noise, others we’ve got field recordings of frogs under layers of synths, or sonic waves of indefinable material just lapping across the speakers. It’s music that’s made to be played loud, that’s when you’ll get the detail, and on headphones, well it could possibly start a religion.

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