BLANCK MASS | ANIMATED VIOLENCE MILD | REVIEW BY LONDONWORKS
This is our review of the new album by electronic artist Blanck Mass (aka Benjamin John Power).
What is a good or bad album? I ask you. What are the requirements for a good record? I think there will never be a straight answer to this question. First of all, I think a good record should reflect the spirit of the time and society we live in. It should capture the soul of our most significant contrasts, paradoxes, and struggles. In order to achieve that, a good album should make a political, existential, or artistic statement. Past the philosophical and anthropological, I could say that a good contemporary album should have good harmonies, surprising transitions, use the concept of tension/release at its best, and recreate emotions and sensations that people can share and connect to. This universalization is so essential, as we don't want the artist to be too self-indulgent and alienate us as a result.
Let's start with the track "Death drop". This song is a fully immersive experience; it's the sound of rage and theatrical nihilism in a world of silent latent obscurity and control. It feels like the whole humankind screaming to claim what is lost forever: their consciousness. Their claim as human beings here today, tuned into a world that has put them in an irreversible lethargic mode. The theatricality of this track is beyond precedents at least for me. It's so dramatic, like a whole orchestra playing for the end of the world.
"House vs House", is a structured and more balanced track, it almost feels as if after the infernal chaos of Death Drop he's taking a moment to breathe and change pace. I think the position of this track in the album is absolutely perfect and well thought.
If we move to "Hush money". This particular track seems to have thrown so many people and music critics into confusion. They called it "naive", "simplistic", "repetitive" and so on...Someone even said it's the only dip of ingenuity in the album. Is it though? And is a sole dip of ingenuity a bad thing in an album like this one? I don't think so. The music escalation at the end of this song is the best part of the whole album for me. Is the song unbalanced and repetitive? Yes. Do I think that it was an intentional choice? Yes. Escalation to that extent only works after repetition. In order to build up to that final theatrical stage, the song simply had to be repetitive. I think this actually is the brightest and most articulated moment of the album.
"Love is a parasite", is another very theatrical and layered track. It's almost like Benjamin was thinking "forget about less is more, MORE IS MORE". I can almost picture him listening to it over and over, and each time saying "what else could I add?". This is probably the most complete track of the album in the way of balance, tension, expectations, music layering, and nostalgia.
"Creatures/ West Fuqua" is another masterpiece. Once again, perfectly placed in the album. It feels like controlled rage (ready to explode any minute), in a beautiful dream that has paralyzed us and alienated us from reality.
"No Dice", is the easiest on the ear. It's got a catchy beat that carries through the whole track. I think it's a good song, and it's challenging for a good song to stand out in an album of great songs.
I reevaluated "Wings of hate" after days of listening to it. I was initially unsure whether the album deserved a different type of ending (perhaps something deeper and more emotional, like a final reflection). I now think that in reality, there will be no such a thing. The world will probably end just like it started: in inevitable theatrical chaos. This is the sound of us surrendering, admitting defeat to a system that has deprived us of the most precious thing we had.
I give this album 10/10