3/05 0 comments
Dean Blunt—aka Hype Williams and endless other pseudonyms—is arguably the most relevant artist of our time. His genre shape-shifting, anonymity, multi-sampling approach and ever-present individuality are both tropes for the current musical age, and also gaspingly beyond much of what is heard today. All at once, he seems to define early 21st century music, and exceed it.
His new album, The Redeemer, is out now (listen to it in full at Pitchfork Advance) and feels seminal. A long, sprawling record that, advance press releases promised, would reveal Blunt’s style once and for all. It, of course, does not: these are 19 wildly varied songs that deliberately have no central pattern or motif or genre or style or mentality. I’m not nearly clever enough to pick out / pick up all the references – the best I can do there is refer you on to Aimee Cliff’s marvellous review over at Dummy. I say review; it’s more a thesis, full of ideas and theories.
And ideas and theories are, you sense, what Blunt has in mind. This isn’t a record designed to make sense: it’s one that challenges you, invites you to react as you will, and doesn’t care what you say. It starts off melodic (see Flaxen above, plus the title track), and ends up lustrous and soulful (like the fond crooning of Papi, and Imperial Gold, one of two duets with British folkstress Joanne Robertson): in between come raggedy, raw stretches, the very opposite of easy-listening, with defiantly out-of-tune songs. Those latter summon to mind David Lynch, whom Blunt has professed to admire, and his films: it’s as though Blunt wants to see what he can get away with, wants to see how complicit we’ll be, exactly how determined we are to proclaim his greatness. Is he ridiculing us all the while? Like so much of this record, the answer is – again, relevant to Aimee Cliff’s review – we’ll never know. It’s all a futile clamour for an answer that wasn’t ever there in the first place.
There’s another Dummy article on Blunt, written in advance of The Redeemer‘s release, which puts forward the theory of Blunt’s aim being to remove himself from the process: for his music to become the listener and the listener, with the artist merely of provocateur, if that. I find myself agreeing: rather like the strange voicemails that litter it, this new record leads to a one-sided debate, where one has ideas and comes up with analysis, but all without Blunt ever responding or showing his hand. It’s simultaneously a record which utterly resists analysis, and one that I cannot stop analysing. Meanwhile, Blunt’s designing women’s mock turtlenecks for Collette Paris. How preposterous it all is, and how excellent.
11/06 0 comments
Monday Music’s the one weekly post wherein Some Of It Was True! drops its London-only rule.
It’s raining, it’s pouring and it’s bloody boring. Someone make it sunny? Still, what better to while away half an hour inside than a dose of Monday Music?
Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt
This is Dylan-esque folk rock relocated to chavvy Northern England in 2012, and ain’t it brilliant? Nottingham talent Bugg has a Gallagher-like look and a chirpy-chappy voice, but don’t let that fool you: this is perfectly-paced, screamingly singalong and full of fearsome guitars. Download it on iTunes here, or wait until 22 October for the debut album to arrive.
Steezy Ray Vibes – Time Stands Still
Harrie’s in a bad way this week, so this electro/guitar number’s for her. It’s soothing, soporific and soft as the puffiest pillow; a song to close your eyes and drift away to, a song to get you through bad times, a song to dampen the eyes. (via Don’t Die Wondering)
Jay Electronica – Dear Moleskine
Jay’s been in the news this week for a supposed affair with Kate Rothschild, and that means a handy opportunity for me to feature this most unusual number, finally out, and a perfect illustration of why Mr Eleck’s such a talent. This is almost a mash-up: some spindly guitar rock, some woo-wooing, some 1950s-style jazz sounds and some conventional hip hop in a stop-start congregation.
Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – The Narcissist
This originated in January (on Blunt’s The Narcissist 2 mixtape, free here), but I only heard about it recently thanks to Dummy. I love their summary: “Blunt and Copeland dance around each other in an exchange of weary, love-worn calls. It’s the music that does the most talking though, thick with a poignant sense of loss”. There’s a Tarantino-soundtrack quality to the overblown lounge-soul sound, and something stunning on show; whenever I listen to this, I simply sit there, head-down, suddenly unable to do anything else. The duo are normally called Hype Williams, but, as Guardian.co.uk explains, there’s really no end to their mystery…
TV Girl – I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now
If ever the sun does reappear, make sure you have this one handy. San Diego duo TV Girl make a tropical splash – part indie, part electro pop, mostly soul. They got in trouble with the Old Bill for featuring Todd Rundgren’s Hello It’s Me without permission, but that scandal only served to swell their fan-club. New song I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now borrows from Johnny Tillotson according to Trendland, and who knows whether that one’s approved… Let’s just say that if the video below disappears, you’ll know why.
Posts tagged as "“dean blunt”"