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Blanck Mass: Dumb Flesh *

Track List

>Loam
>Dead Format
>No Lite
>Atrophies
>Cruel Sport
>Double Cross
>Lung
>Detritus

Album Reviews:

NME (Magazine) - "[T]hese eight songs employ crunching beats, encroaching on the arena-rave territory of Modeselektor....A standalone success..."

Pitchfork (Website) - "DUMB FLESH is filled with handclaps, 808s and is-that-human-or-what? vocal samples....Much of DUMB FLESH is actually pretty darn accessible."

Clash (magazine) - "Rarely has a record built up such an evocative landscape through sound -- DUMB FLESH is a thrilling yet unsettling listen..."

Album Notes

What do you do after soundtracking the Olympics? If you're Benjamin John Power -- whose work as Blanck Mass and with Fuck Buttons was used in the 2012 Summer Olympics' opening ceremony -- you create "a comment on the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state." Dumb Flesh, Power's first work as Blanck Mass for Sacred Bones, lives up to its name in unexpected ways: loaded with undeniable hooks and beats, the album is "dumb" in the best way possible, and embraces the "flesh" part of its title by making bodies move. It's far more dancefloor-oriented than any of Power's work with either of his projects, and more interesting than a none-more-black exploration of physical frailty. He delivers some of that on opening track "Loam," a Tri Angle-esque piece of murk that evokes the clumsy mechanism of a mouth and tongue trying to shape thoughts into words. However, most of Dumb Flesh is remarkably kinetic. "Dead Format" chops and recombines house and industrial elements into a pummeling yet playful workout, while the nine-minute standout "No Lite" is a seductive marriage of grooves and Power's fondness for marathon-length tracks that suggests a rave held in a black hole. The White Math EP suggested that he was moving in a more accessible direction, and one that at times bore a closer resemblance to Fuck Buttons; Dumb Flesh goes farther and wider with those leanings, especially on the finale, "Detritus," which builds to a majesty befitting a closing ceremony. Even as he incorporates more widescreen grandeur into Blanck Mass, there's a sense of fun to these tracks that makes them distinct from his work with Fuck Buttons. The chase hinted at in "Cruel Sport"'s claustrophobic synths and beats is ominous, but it's delivered with a wink when compared to the tension Power helped ratchet up on albums like Street Horrrsing. Likewise, unabashedly pretty songs such as "Atrophies"' woozy synth pop and "Lung," a Boards of Canada-like mix of flitting melody and what sounds like the wheezing of a sickly child, add to the album's unique identity. A danceable memento mori, Dumb Flesh is mischievous, poignant, and quite likely Sacred Bones' most accessible release of 2015. ~ Heather Phares



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