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Sacred Bones double: The Holydrug Couple and Blanck Mass

Moonlust  Dumb Flesh
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From the label:
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The Holydrug Couple began in Santiago, Chile in 2008, a little over a half-decade after Ives and Manu met for the first time. The two friends hadn’t seen each other in a few years when Manu texted Ives to tell him that he bought a drum kit. They started jamming, and a week later the band was formed. A flurry of songwriting activity followed, culminating in 2011’s Ancient Land EP and 2013’s Noctuary, both released on Sacred Bones. Moonlust boldly treads territory that those earlier psych-indebted recordings only hinted at, especially French movie soundtracks of the ’70s and ’80s and the discography of Serge Gainsbourg. “I had clear what I wanted to revisit from the last album, as well as what I didn’t want to do again,” Ives said. “I definitely wanted to make a good-sounding record, clear and heavy. I wanted to get away as much as possible from the ‘band’ sound. The last album wasn’t recorded live, but I tried to make it sound as if it had been. This time, I wanted to make an electronic-like album instead.” The result is an album  – self-recorded in Chile and mixed by Ben Greenberg (Hubble, Uniform) at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn – that falls well outside the boundaries of the prevailing psych-rock idiom. In addition to the French soundtrack and Gainsbourg influences, they cite inspiration from the soul ballads of Aretha Franklin, ’80s South American synthpop acts like Los Encarga- dos, Virus, and Los Prisioneros, and the contemporary French electro group Air. The songs are streamlined hook delivery machines, without any baroque arrangements or unnecessary flourishes to get in the way of their ultimate goal. To Ives, the lyrical themes on the record represent “feeling lust, desire, for some- thing that you see when it’s dark but it’s so far away that it’s unreachable. It’s an unrealistic target, like God, maybe, or a dream archetype of a goddess. It’s the feeling of melancholy that you can’t fulfill with anything.” If that feeling sounds anything like the songs on Moonlust, then here’s hoping that he and Manu keep reaching out into that cosmic void anyway.”
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Blanck Mass is the solo project of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power. Described by Fact Magazine as “simultaneously soothing and sweepingly grandiose, esoteric and surprisingly accessible”, his self-titled 2011 debut was an elegant, introspective departure from the stadium electronica he had become known for. In 2012, ‘Sundowner’ – the second track from the album – soundtracked the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. The song was chosen by Underworld’s Rick Smith and performed by London’s Symphony Orchestra to 900 million people worldwide. Power’s newest solo offering, Dumb Flesh, was written, produced and recorded by Benjamin in a number of different locations over the space of a year. It began life in Fuck Buttons’ ‘Space Mountain’ studio, moved into a windowless attic space in Hatch End, North London, then was finished up at Ben’s new home in Edinburgh. The geographical spread of the sessions is reflected in the shifting landscapes of the tracks and the ever-changing sound-palette used to realize Dumb Flesh as an expansive body of work. As a work of art, Dumb Flesh is a comment on the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state. The frailty of the human body naturally became a resonant and inescapable part of the album’s gestation. “We are at the mercy of our genetic heritage everyday. No matter how intelligent we are compared to other life forms, we’re still made up of the same building blocks and things can go very wrong”. In particular, the first single ‘Dead Format’ reflects upon this reality, whilst ‘Atrophies’ and ‘Detritus’ acknowledge the organic decay we will all inevitably succumb to. The album went through myriad stages of completion before arriving at this definitive version. Benjamin elaborates “There must have been at least three occasions where I re-produced the whole thing, replacing instrumentation and experimenting with new machines until I was happy with where the evolution of the project had arrived. That’s the difference between the subject matter of Dumb Flesh and the process of creating it; an end point can be reached. Saying that, I don’t like to stick around in one place too long so we’ll see where this leads to next.””
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Moonlust and Dumb Flesh are out May 12 via Sacred Bones.

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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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