Blanck Mass: In Fernaux (Sacred Bones) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, September 20th, 2021  

Blanck Mass

In Fernaux

Sacred Bones

Feb 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Returning two years after his barnstorming exploits on Animated Violence Mild, Blanck Mass—of Fuck Buttons, and aka Benjamin John Power—has delivered a project of noticeable difference, that runs at a counterpoint to almost all of his previous work. For starters, there are only two tracks on In Fernaux, “Phase I” and “Phase II.” Taken from a plethora of field recordings produced by the global travels of their creator, these phases fluctuate between the serene and the maniacal. As with every project Power has been involved in up to this point, wear headphones at your peril, because this stuff gets loud.

Moving on from there, it’s also the first time that a project that has Power involved in it has felt as though the concept is more commendable than the music on show. In representing it as two halves of a whole, it loses some of the structure and therefore some of the arching thrust that has defined Power’s best work. The argument would doubtless be that, in abandoning a traditional structure, the album is afforded more fluidity, more spontaneity, and more impulse, but there are too many passages in here where the result of this added freedom is actually just padded meandering. It is worth saying, though, that this very rarely digresses into the realm of boredom, it is more just unshakable dissatisfaction, especially if you are a fan of his previous exploits.

The second phase of the album is undoubtedly the more textural and visceral of the two, combining traditional musicality with spoken-word samples and sounds that originate from outside of the studio. Narratively complex and sonically multi-faceted though it may be, it doesn’t quite rescue this project from being pretty underwhelming. Far from a dud, and most definitely something that will divide audiences rather than be seen as a unanimous failure or success, In Fernaux nevertheless reveals itself to be the work of an artist that appears to be enduring a period of reflection, rather than looking forward to the future. (www.blanckmass.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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