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Benjamin Power is a London-based musician who has created vast symphonies that remind us of terminal gravity and the last time we went 36 hours without sleep. As well as playing in Fuck Buttons, he makes music on his own as Blanck Mass, and, following his terrific 2011 self-titled album, will release a 12” through Dan Lopatin’s label Software in August.
While operating in the worlds of noise and drone, his sound has an energy, wit and fascination that makes it absorbing and bright rather than self-serious. Released through Mogwai’s Rock Action, ‘Blanck Mass’ as an album on the edge of the rave, or just after, dirty lungs full of dawn, and that feeling that the conversion about how space, or the Pet Shop Boys, or Genghis Khan, or Carl Sagan is the most crucial thing in the world. This mix of Very British Dance Psychedelia – not to say its ecstatic sides – caught the ears of the Olympic organising committee who used in Blanck Mass in the opening ceremony, a journey into dance that continues in the approaching four-to-the-floor Software 12 inch White Math / Polymorth.
Ahead of that, you can stream his new mix here. “I like the challenge of taking tracks and pieces of music I love that jar with each other and attempting to make them blend and work somehow side-by-side”, he once said to the Quietus, and this mix is another pure example of that. Jumping from pure noise to some of the world’s prettiest folk in a breath, it’s a showcase of the huge imagination and ambition of this quietly awe-inspiring man.
Congratulations on the Olympics play. How did that come about?
Rick Smith from Underworld was working on the music for the opening ceremony alongside Danny Boyle. I guess he must have been a fan and was able to visualise the music in the context of something like the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. He got in contact and I jumped at the chance as soon as he mentioned the collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Any word on whether the Queen is digging your music?
Oh yeah, she’s a big fan. There have been talks since Friday about us two collaborating but i can’t give you much more information than that at the moment.
Please could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve made for Dummy?
I like my mixes to play out like a soundtrack, so i tend to focus on the dynamic between emotion and density as opposed to a more purist ‘mix criteria’, beatmatching and the like. i feel this mix is more concise though. At just under an hour, that’s quite a short mix for me.
Any tracks on it you’d particularly like to highlight?
I always like to start my mixes off with a classical piece. This time it’s Clare De Lune, which i think is one of most beautiful pieces of music ever written. Gets me every single time, without fail. Also ‘Valley of the Dry Bones’ from the Chasing Voices 12” series on Preserved Instincts. They’re one of my favourite series, each one a different anonymous NY Producer. That track is the latest in the series.
Great news on the Software record. Could you tell us a bit about it?
Dan and I had been speaking about doing a Blanck Mass release on Software for a while now. Both him and Joel are good friends of mine. They both seemed to like White Math/Polymorph alot so i guess we figured that was a good place to start.
I really enjoyed your live set at Field Day. How is the live side progressing?
Oh, that’s together now. i know i had said that Blanck Mass was a studio only project but these things are subject to change. The live shows seem to be getting better and better and i’m really enjoying that aspect
What else do you have coming up this summer?
Loads of shows, more writing. the EP drops in a few weeks. also there’s lots going on with Blanck Mass’ brother, Fuck Buttons. There’s plenty to do.
And finally, any recommendations for new music you’d like to share with Dummy readers?
Yep. New Haxan Cloak stuff is sounding amazing. So is the New Konx-Om-Pax on Planet Mu. Roly Porter’s ‘Aftertime’, and you should always be listing to Legowelt.