Benjamin John Power (the brains behind Blanck Mass) keeps things tight on his latest release, showing himself to be a reliable and well-experienced producer. World Eater is aggressive and danceable, but also thoughtful and restrained in all the right places. Power, who came up in the Bristol scene but is now based in Edinburgh, never takes the abrasiveness over the top on World Eater, focusing instead on details and emotional tenor.
“John Doe’s Carnival of Evil” opens with an idyllic synth loop and a spattering of noise –a grotesque analogy to modern pop music that Power keeps surprisingly listenable. The song quickly turns into a cacophonous compression of electronic music tropes, and a life-affirming climax that Power pulls the plug on at just the moment. “Rhesus Negative,” a 9-minute, high-BPM sprint of noise, sees Power play with cinematic vistas. “Please” comes in with a swelling ambient lift, moody synth stabs, and cluby vocal samples.
On the whole, World Eater is accessible and well-executed. Power’s debut as Blanck Mass came out on Mogwai’s Rock Action label in 2011, and his links to post-rock still feel alive on his latest release. Power keeps his distance from the hoard of “epic” sounding techno, just as he does from the hoard of irony-saturated producers who bank in on kitsch. World Eater makes worlds just as it devours them.
Power traffics in lofty nature-documentary electronic music, but his treatment is subtle, and always a little bit too mean to become background music to Attenborough narration. “The Rat” opts for shiny, high-pitched melodies, with Power quilting together a palate of old school video game sounds. “Minnesota/Eas Fors/Naked” blends vocal chatter, oscillations, and earthy sound effects (that walk a fine line of organic/artificial sounding), giving way to a wobbly muzak slowdown. “Hive Mind” ends the album on a contemplative note; leaving the listeners with lush melodies, clean percussion patterns, and tuned-down vocal samples.
review by Josh Gabert-Doyon
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