Benjamin John Power became prominent as one of the co-founders of electronic noise giants Fuck Buttons. With the release of 2008’s debut Street Horrrsing and 2009’s superb Tarot Sport, his work with bandmate Andrew Hung quickly and easily placed them on top of the lists of artists to watch and the albums among the best releases of their respective years. With three full-length albums and songs featured on the 2012’s Summer Olympics in London, it became clear Fuck Buttons had achieved a solid place and status within the industry. Parallel to this, Power’s solo guise Blanck Mass was born and its drone/ambient leaning self-titled debut was released by Mogwai’s Rock Action Records.
Two years after the release of second album Dumb Flesh, in which Blanck Mass was able to both pave his way towards a noisier realm and introduce a clear influence of power electronics to his compositions, World Eater is another remarkable achievement. One thing is clear after the first listen of Blanck Mass’ third release: it’s well-thought and well-layered. However, there is a strong resemblance to Oneohtrix Point Never’s Garden of Delete, an album that also received a huge amount of critical acclaim in 2015, from which Power may have taken inspiration.
Isolated from comparisons, World Eater is likely to be considered Blanck Mass’ best effort. From beginning to end it takes you through a variety of gushing moments where breathing opportunities are scarce. Opening track ‘John Doe’s Carnival of Error’ is merely an introduction to an overwhelming sonic rollercoaster. It is followed by ‘Rhesus Negative’, the first explosive attempt to show what World Eater is all about. ‘Please’ takes on a more experimental side, but also showcases the type of sound that closely bridges this new album to Daniel Lopatin’s above mentioned main Oneohtrix Point Never project.
‘The Rat’ dives into a sort of cheerleading imagery, where the synths’ repetitiveness takes command. There are echoes of early Battles, and their song ‘Atlas’ from 2007’s Mirrored, is the first connection that comes to mind. Near its conclusion, World Eater takes an emotional turn. ‘Hive Mind’ is the 8-minute grand finale drifting through chopped and screwed vocals and spaced-out pads, where Power gives us closure with epic and long-lasting proportions.
Regardless of whether there are moments where the direct influences are obvious or not, sometimes a creative guide is a helping hand for something bigger. Trends are cyclical and new musical endeavours can always be traced back to their original source. In this case, it can be a call for debate.
It’s safe to say Benjamin John Power’s Blanck Mass, and Fuck Buttons of course, are solid references for producers and musicians that wish to pursue a path in loud experimental electronics. That is reflected in World Eater too. It’s coherent, exciting, and strong, and it gives you an in-depth idea of how you can articulate experimental soundscapes with rough portions of sound that cause commotion.