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Take Ten: Blanck Mass

Ahead of his Sacred Bones Records released album, ‘Animated Violence Mild’, the experimental producer picks 10 tracks that have inspired him

Blanck Mass is the alias of Benjamin John Power, also known for his work as one half of high-octane drone duo Fuck Buttons. His solo project veers further into the outer reaches of ambient, noise, experimental, rock and expansive electronic soundscapes. Power’s self-titled album in 2011 was full of peak and pensive cinematic moments, testament to this was when one of the lead tracks from the LP ‘Sundown’ was re-imagined by the London Cinematic Orchestra and performed at the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Since then two albums on New York-based label Sacred Bones Records ensued, ‘Dumb Flesh’ in 2015 and ‘World Eater’ in 2017. This month sees Power’s fourth LP, entitled ‘Animated Violence Mild’, land via the same label. Encompassing eight tracks recorded throughout last year in his studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh, it touches on themes of consumerism and grief through the medium of roaring sonics sat somewhere between noise, symphonic metal and bass music. We talked to Power about 10 of the definitive tracks that have inspired him throughout the years...

01.
Shreikback ‘This Big Hush’

“Soundtracking is something I have been working on more of late, although narrative has always had a very strong presence in all of my work to date pretty much. This track comes from one of my favourite soundtracks of all time; the Manhunter OST.”

02.
Ennio Morricone ‘Titoli (A Fistfull Of Dollars)’

“My favourite Morricone OST is probably The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly overall, but the title music from A Fistfull Of Dollars encorporates many elements of what I love about Morricone. The isolation, the modest sense of triumph, the sadness, the space.”

03.
Gershon Kingsley ‘Popcorn’

“One of my very earliest musical memories. This one was the first vinyl single I ever owned, although I believe it may have been the ‘Hot Butter’ version or something. The record was bought as a gift by my parents for my brother and they had bought me Status Quo’s ‘You’re In The Army Now’ vinyl single, but we preferred each other’s so we swapped.”

04.
Aphex Twin ‘Rhubarb’

“One of my favourite Aphex tracks, this one. When he strips it right down to its most minimal he really knows how to pull at the heartstrings.”

05.
Jan Hammer ‘Crockett’s Theme’

“The padded chord progression which comes in a few bars after the initial arp is perhaps my favourite chord progression of all time. Such sadness. Then the melody comes in, which is also amazing. A long-time favourite.”

06.
Yma Sumac ‘Malambo No.1’

“I’m a huge Ru Paul’s Drag Race fan and this track was used in my favourite ever ‘Lip Synch For Your Life’ with Jinkx Monsoon and Detox. Her vocals were just next level.”

07.
Russell Haswell ‘Wholly Unaware’

“From ‘As Sure As Night Follows Day’, the Diagonal release a few years ago. This one is actually quite ‘together’ for Haswell, with at least some semblance of structure. A close friend and one of the last true punks.”

08.
Pharoah Sanders ‘Elevation’

“A bit more of a recent one for me. A few years ago Dave Psutka (Egyptrixx/Ceramic TL) showed me this record on one particularly long drive whilst we were touring together. I’ve been hooked since. I enjoy the freedom I can hear within this.”

09.
Stars Of The Lid ‘Requiem For Dying Mothers Pt. I & II’

“These two pieces from ‘Tired Sounds Of...’ work best as a pair. I love the subtle fluttering which acts as a segue between the two parts and how ‘Part II’ opens up. Morbid and beautiful.”

10.
Trencher ‘Nightmares On Crack Street’

“Trencher were this amazing grindcore band from London/ Brighton. The line-up was bass, drums, and the singer used a tiny Casio VL Tone (or similar). I played my second ever Fuck Buttons show with them in our hometown of Worcester, in which the owner of the venue killed the power during our set because it ‘wasn’t music’ that we were playing.”

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