Babyfather -who I think you’ll find is a pseudonym for Dean Blunt, often working alongside Arca (though we've been told by Hyperdub this isn't who it is despite the earlier EP being credited to both - legal ed) is clearly in a archly sarcastic state-of-the-nation mood: just look at that sleeve art! “BBF” Hosted By DJ Escrow is the first full-length attributed to the project, and slides slickly around that murky Blunt territory. Includes ‘Meditation’. On Hyperdub.
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We all know now that Babyfather is the project of Dean Blunt. The enfent terrible of underground hip hop/dream pop/whatvs is always shifting and moving on and it’s really hard to predict what he will do next. Early reports that this was a collaboration with Arca were wide of the mark (Arca appears on just three tracks). It is very typical of a Blunt record in that there are moments of musical brilliance, times where you think the whole thing is a prank and a scattershot contrary approach that makes it very hard to enjoy as a whole.
The opening track ‘Stealth Intro’ is infuriating. Blunt stretches a sample “this makes me proud to be British” on so long you want to kill everyone in the near vicinity. It alongside a sweet classical guitar figure he adds in sirens and phones ringing. Finally it segues into ‘Greezebloc’ based around a sped up sample and the first appearance of Blunt’s distinctive voice. One feature of this new work is an increased use of dialogue and effects. A perfect example is ‘Mediation’ previously released on a 10” where a lovely lazy house sample has Blunt’s insouciant vocals and strange violent exchanges.
This sets the tone for the rest of the LP (which actually goes on forever). I’m not sure how this differs from a Blunt solo LP, his music varies so widely as it is that there’s no real need to differentiate. The blueprint seems to be 3AM head nodding music with Blunt’s distinctive talk/singing on top. There are some brilliantly bleak pieces such as ‘Esco Freestyle’ where over a simple throbbing synth motif Blunt relates a tale of terrible drug induced incident. It’s truly haunting. The spectre of Massive Attack looms over lovely pieces like the Micachu featuring ‘God Hour’ with gorgeous strings over eerie lo-fi trip hop.
For every one of those there's something equally unlistenable, Blunt makes it difficult to find the truly transcendent bits but surely solving the puzzle is part of the fun.
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