Blanck Mass Animated Violence Mild Sacred Bones
It was Benjamin John Power’s gloriously named partnership with Andrew Hung, Fuck Buttons, that introduced his intense, grainy aesthetic. But it’s his solo work as Blanck Mass that has proven the richer seam, even landing a spot in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, catapulting the deranged euphoria his music channels to a global audience.
His fourth Blanck Mass album Animated Violence Mild is a harder, harsher extension of an already angular sound. Opener Death Drop is an unforgiving slab of pounding, industrial electronics, and veers a little too close to Muse-esque pantomime bombast. But get past that hiccup, and the rest of the album races past in an enjoyably intense blur.
House vs House comes over like a SOPHIE track stripped of its otherworldliness; a sort of heavy, gothic glitch. When melody rears its mangled head in the first half of the album, it does so only fleetingly – mostly, the production is dominated by a vitriolic roar. The gentle, undulating Creature/West Fuqua and penultimate track No Dice stand out by virtue of being the only tracks not driven by a drilled rhythm or built from layers of scathing static.
Power’s previous albums have hinted at this savage energy on display. But on Animated Violence Mild, in line with the album’s theme of anti-consumerist self-loathing, everything is cranked up to an antagonistic, perhaps even intentionally over-saturated, level.