These are just a few of the thousands of words I could use to describe Blanck Mass’s performance last night. I wont bother going into detail with the previous acts since I didnt really catch a great deal of them (I was too busy drinking), in fact I missed one altogether and only caught the latter half of another, but I will say that the guy who played immediately before BM was dropping some pretty darn decent deep house/techno stuff (I think his name’s patten and he’s a DJ). Clocked “Cos-Ber-Zam – Ne Noya” from the new Daphni LP at the start of his set which was great. Russel Haswell was the other big warmup act who I only caught some of, and that was some punishing experimentalism right there. Huge levels of noise and feedback.
I’m not sure what Benjamin Power opened with; he was having technical problems initially and ended up plugging something in and sandpapering everyone’s faces off with a wall of noise, but I’m pretty sure he slipped into “Sifted Gold” and then into “Chernobyl”, both of which were significantly extended versions. “Chernobyl” was the best part of the evening for me though, by a long way. Huge walls of glistening sound punctuated by these gargantuan throbs of sub-bass pounding through, it was utterly mesmerising. I honestly needed to sit down, it was completely overwhelming; I’ve never heard anything quite so gigantic and heartbreaking. Chasing this up (I think, it’s sort of blended together) was perhaps the most incredibly climaxing track I have ever heard. It was utterly relentless, just piles and piles of pink noise, feedback and electronic tinklings falling over one another at 1000mph, continuously rising for minutes on end. There were numerous times when I thought “this has to be it now, it can’t go any further”, but by some aural trickery it just kept on and on before plateauing and then bottoming out. It was…utterly ridiculous, completely indescribable and absolutely brilliant.
Much of the rest of the set (which was only an hour long) was occupied by what I assume was his own work, mostly flitting between progressive electronic, noise and techno. In fact, much of it was extremely rhythmic; certainly not dance worthy but more than enough to get your feet tapping and head nodding. As he slipstreamed into this more rhythmic phase there was a track of extremely fragmented and chaotic beats, glitched out with piles of white noise and other abrasive over-layers, barreling along at high speed with insufficient coherency to keep your head nodding to but sufficiently unfragmented enough to make out the melody. He finally ended the set with recent single “White Math”, the perfect 10 minute outro to tie together the more beat driven electronic with his comparatively “older” and noisier work.
Power looked totally cool and collected on the set, pausing every so often just to stand there with his eyes closed and soak it all in, something I’ll admit to doing a number of times. The music was absolutely bone-crushing but in the best possible way; I’ve always said that the only way to enjoy this kind of music is just at stupid volumes because a lot of the emotional nuances only become obvious at ear-damaging levels. Intoxicating stuff, makes me very excited to see what Fuck Button’s are going to deliver at Pitchfork.