Blanck Mass – In Ferneaux: The misery on the way to the blessing
When he was growing up in Worcester, Benjamin John Power obsessively listened to Scottish post-rock pioneers Mogwai. In addition to having the honour of his debut solo album getting a release on their Rock Action label, his sleep-
talking voice opens their new album.
Coincidentally, another voice features on the fifth Blanck Mass album as an unnamed man tells the grieving musician and composer in San Francisco, “You don’t know how to handle the misery on the way to the blessing.”
This advice from a lengthy conversation features on Phase 2 of In Ferneaux, which consists of two long-form tracks that explore the various stages of his grief, catharsis and renewal by collating an archive of field recordings from the last decade.
It’s a marked departure from the futuristic progressive techno that Power has perfected over the last four albums. And while there are flashes of his fierce and uncompromising side, In Ferneaux is for the most part a meditative listen, where he looks back rather than forward. Power has been to an inner circle of hell, but he isn’t afraid to let the music take him right back there and try and make sense of it all.
Blanck Mass has been a very prolific entity, scoring the soundtrack to last year’s Irish crime drama Calm with Horses. Power is also one-half of experimental duo Fuck Buttons, who have been on hiatus since 2013. All of his projects to date have been brilliant. The Dantesque In Ferneaux is his most emotional, probing, and moving yet.