Blanck Mass

Blanck Mass


Blanck Mass is in a good mood tonight. He takes to the Deaf Institute stage to the sound of the hulking main sample of ‘Loam’, the opening track of this year’s stunning album Dumb Flesh. It’s stretched out to hypnotic length, a powerful, throbbing sound that fills the room such that when it breaks down into the glitchy, stuttering noise of the outro it’s almost disorientating. This blurs into technicolour synths and the ravey stabs that cement the party mood of the night reflect the strides that Blanck Mass’ sound has moved on from the dronescapes that characterised his first, self-titled record.

That’s not to say there’s not plenty of noise to be had tonight, but the set is more focussed on blending these walls of synths with the exotic rhythms of the likes of ‘Cruel Sport’. It builds from twitchy beats that ricochet around the Deaf Institute with intensifying pads before falling down a rabbit hole of chirruping samples, becoming more and more imposing with each repeat. There’s no respite as it’s closely followed by the sci-fi horror rave of ‘Double Cross’, all urgent, futuristic synth lines, flickering keys and sampled yells. He’s visibly having a great time as another crushing wall of noise fizzles and that distinctive wailing hails killer single ‘Dead Format’. He even allows himself a little dance onstage before dropping the chopped up vocal samples, grinning and sticking his tongue out at the shapes being pulled in front of him.

The pace slows slightly for the highlight of the night, the loping beats and claps of ‘Atrophies’. The glistening arpeggios and shimmering samples make it the most accessible thing Benjamin John Power has done, either under the Blanck Mass monicker or as half of Fuck Buttons and it’s moments like this that make you wonder whether he’ll be in a hurry to get back to his day job. That question is possibly answered by the most Fuck Buttons-esque moment of Dumb Flesh, the white noise and feedback that introduces ‘No Lite’. On record it’s a ten minute slowburner, building layers and layers of loops for half of its running time until squiggles of keys and swaggering drums pile on with chiming samples and into those trademark buzzsaw synths. Here it’s transformed with crunching beats and everything being played at such sheer volume. One thing is for sure, whatever he decides to do next we’ll be waiting with baited breath. It’s not like they’ve any shortage of creative energy between them; bandmate Andrew Hung has just released an EP made entirely on a Game Boy so there’s no doubt it’ll be interesting to say the least.

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).