A heavy album about genetic decay from one half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power. As Blanck Mass Power has been dealing in grandiosity since 2010, notably providing the soundtrack to the 2012 Olympic Games. Dumb Flesh is just as heavy, tribal and expansive as his work with Fuck Buttons. Out on CD and vinyl double LP from Sacred Bones.
9/10 Robin Staff review, 07 May 2015
Much of our office discourse surrounding ‘Dumb Flesh’ has been about what flesh in particular we’re looking at on the front cover of the record, but it’s since become clear to me that Benjamin John Power doesn’t want us to know. Since day one, Sacred Bones have been doing a fine job of mixing something totally ephemeral with the most sensory music possible -- they’re self-proclaimed shadow punks, after all -- and ‘Dumb Flesh’ strikes in that exact way. It’s a distortion of the visceral.
It starts with the drone-abstracted “Loam”, which takes yawning pitch-shifted vocals and splices them around creasing ambience that, in its last breath, makes the ears pulsate and implode. Listen with headphones, if you dare: after minutes of ambiguous, swirling pleasantries, the song’s synths distort and compress like heartburn for the ears. The record keeps to a rigid schedule of ambient-inflected goth pop from then on, taking that crushing forward momentum and rolling into “Dead Format”. “No Life” ruminates on chilling beats and synth that sounds like it’s being sifted through, thrown out in order to find what was lost.
These songs are marvellously intense and frustratingly intangible, and that’s exactly the point: like Pharmakon’s recent sonic aerobics, Power has created music that speaks to the body but disagrees with it, rolling through rhythmic thrill-rides like “Atrophies” but reconfiguring the patterns and posting them at the most excruciating volumes. It’s perhaps Power’s most glitched-out record ever, but it makes the heart beat -- goodness, maybe a little too much.
8/10 Mark Gribby Customer review, 29th May 2015
Initially i was disappointed that it is in no way like his debut album. On second listen i thought it was more akin to Fuck Buttons than Blanck Mass. However i would say that Dumb Flesh is harder than any Fuck Buttons material. Dumb Flesh is pushing the listener to experience a more abrasive and ultimately noisier affair. Please don't expect beautiful melodies backed by white noise drone as per his debut. This is a man rising above his peers, experimenting at the top of his creative curve. Can't wait to experience it live.
8/10 Luke Harris Customer review, 9th May 2015
Just took my headphones off and this is what I think : 'Dumb Flesh' is a mixture of infectious body rhythms, electro-drones and dark undercurrents for techno-bods looking for something cerebral, always-interesting and decidedly dystopian....
I like Ben Power's Fuck Buttons releases and this shares the same epic proportions as some of their output : gargantuan melodies fill the void (as on album closer 'Detritus' ) rhythms build, tracks get filled, it's fucking massive sounding...
8 tracks 54 minutes. Get it.
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