Label update: Blackest Ever Black

London based label Blackest Ever Black has recently announced three releases, two for January 2019 and one for later this week, whose artistic diversity is a deft illustration of the label’s own.


Bremen – «Enter Silence»

We naturally start by taking a look at the record that is still coming out this year. «Enter Silence» will be the fourth full-length for Bremen, third released through Blackest Ever Black. The duo of reputed Swedish musicians, comprised of Jonas Tiljander of Brainbombs fame and Lanchy Orre, who was not only also part of Brainbombs but was the guitarist of the legendary crust band Totalitär, has been perfecting their explorations in repetition and psychedelia through melancholic instrumentals that take bits and pieces from kraut, prog, drone, and electronic. Below, listen to «Too Cold For Your Eyes», the upcoming record’s seventh track.

«Enter Silence» is described in its press release as “their most concise, and powerful, album to date,” one in which its authors “combine elements of trogged-out psychedelic rock with a deadly serious Arctic minimalism and weeping modal improvisations that owe more to the outer-limits of jazz and burnt-out free music from Japan,” a description that really should entice the interest of anyone reading this.

«Enter Silence» is set for release on November 23 in digital and vinyl formats through Blackest Ever Black. Pre-orders are available at this location.


Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay – «Ice Exposure»

The second announced release is «Ice Exposure», a collaborative effort between experimental trumpeter and singer Jac Berrocal, jazz/electronic composer and software developer David Fenech, and visual artist and composer Vincent Epplay, their second through the London based label, following 2015’s «Antigravity». It is precisely with a comparison with their previous record that the press release of «Ice Exposure» begins, stating that “it is both colder, and more exposed – in the sense of rawer, more volatile, more vulnerable – than its predecessor, capturing the combustible energy and barely suppressed violence of the trio’s celebrated live performances with aspects of noir jazz, musique concrète, no wave art-rock, sound poetry and spectral electronics all interpenetrating in unpredictable and exhilarating ways.” That this is indeed so can be confirmed by listening to «Why» below, the fourth out of fourteen tracks that comprises «Ice Exposure»

As the text goes on to explain, the “inspired arrangements and vivid, vertiginous sound design” of the record, come courtesy of Fenech and Epplay, who “fashion a remarkable mise-en-scene for Berrocal to inhabit, one that embraces cutting-edge electronics while also paying homage to the best traditions of outlaw jazz and libidinous rock’n’roll.” And while Berrocal characteristic trumpet playing is featured on the record, “more often it’s his voice that commands centre-stage, whether casually discharging surreal poetic monologues or moaning in animal despair – a vocal tour de force that transcends language and culminates in the Dyonysian frenzy of «Why», Berrocal’s half-spoken, half-howled exclamations jostling with David Fenech’s slashes of dissonant guitar, over Badalamenti-ish, panther-stalk drums.

«Ice Exposure» is set for release on January 18 in digital and vinyl formats through Blackest Ever Black. Pre-orders are available at this location.


Black Rain – «Computer Soul»

In 2011, Blackest Ever Black released the then first Black Rain record in almost twenty years, «Now I’m Just A Number: Soundtracks 1994-95». However, it was a release of archival music composed and recorded by the outfit of pioneering artist Stuart Argabright, then alongside Shinichi Shimokawa, in 1994 and 1995. It took three more years, but then «Dark Pool» came out, an outright statement of relevance in the art of dystopian electronics, which is not set for a follow-up, «Computer Soul». The record sees Arbabright team up with Shimokawa and recent collaborators Soren Roi and Zanias, who had provided vocals in «Dark Pool».

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In «Computer Soul», whose artwork, a collaboration with artist Noyuri Tokiwa, is displayed above, Black Rain is said to come full-circle in the sense that “the cyberpunk techno” compiled on «Now I’m Just A Number» and “the extrapolations of Dark Pool’s neuromantic yearning” are “cut with glimpses of the thrash and industrial rock energies that animated Black Rain’s incendiary live shows in the early 90s.”

Theme-wise, «Computer Soul» is set to continue the band’s exploration of the science fiction universes of William Gibson (this time around focusing on «Sprawl») and the Blade Runner series, “particularly K.W. Jeter’s spin-off/continuation novels which extended its mythology, and timeline, further.” This topic is further elaborated upon in the record’s press-release, as cited below.

«Computer Soul» will be released on digital and vinyl formats on January 18 by Blackest Ever Black. Pre-orders are available at this location.

It’s not news that many of these works’ most powerful predictions and prophesies have come to pass – the replicants are already living among us – so Computer Soul projects further into several possible unforeseen futures, its events “set” in the second half of the current century, fifty or so years after those of Dark Pool. The hyperpopulated metropolises of Dark Pool are no more; the apartments are empty, haunted by ghosts of AC current, devices and machines running lonely without their owners…a melancholy internet of things.

Where has everyone got to? Gone but perhaps not gone. Oblivion beckons – always does – but on the other side of that, something else… another time, another place, a river….and a new way of living.

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