Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Fuck Button side-project Blanck Mass and Chicago ambient rock band Implodes.
Listed: Blanck Mass + Implodes
Remember Fuck Buttons? Blanck Mass is Benjamin John Power, one half of that power-synth duo. In the aftermath of his band’ s LP, Tarot Sport and the Chariots of Fire single "Surf Solar," Power set aside some time for himself during the summer of 2010 and wrote what would become the 10 songs on his self-titled debut as Blanck Mass. It’ s a couple keys lower than his work in Fuck Buttons, full of shimmering analogue synths and New Age feelgooderie, light as a feather and stiff as a Moog.
1. Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly OST
You all know it. Galloping, triumphant, heartbreaking movements that seemingly ride towards the horizon into the sunset but stay with you forever. Ennio Morricone is one of the greatest musical minds of our time
2. Stars of the Lid - The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
Stars of the Lid can say more to me in one delicate, beautifully considered guitar swell than a whole string section can say over the space of six hours. This record has had more of an emotional impact on me than any other to date
3. Ashra - New age of Earth
This is the sound of the world waking up and coming to life
4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - tender prey
’ The mercy seat’ is my all time favorite Bad Seeds track. Such a powerful, melancholy, desperately brooding piece of music that builds and builds until you think it can’ t build anymore but then it does and leaves you feeling like you’ ve just had the shit beaten out of you
5. Delia Gonzales and Gavin Russom - Days of Mars
This has been getting some heavy rotation over the past few years at mine, that’ s for sure. The painstakingly subtle lifts here and there that swim next to submerged groove appear so well considered that they almost couldn’ t have been crafted by human hands. Such a beautiful record.
6. Chris Watson - Storm
I’ m a great fan of well executed field recordings. This record is outstanding and focuses on some of the more uncompromising elements and crueler forces of nature.
7. Pan Sonic - Kulma
This record pretty much goes against what usually initially attracts me towards music. I have a tendency to gravitate towards that which is warm in texture and that’ s totally the opposite of what Pan Sonic are all about. Having said that, there’ s sophistication in the record regarding texture and rhythm and a quiet brutality that’ s exciting for me whenever I hear it.
8. Philip Glass - Koyanisquaatsi OST
I love his piano work too. When this record ’ gets going’ and is its peak of Glass-esque fluttery-ness, I feel like my heart is beating at 100mph.
9. The Stooges - Raw Power
This is the point where I’ m supposed to say something about the fact that Iggy is ’ still doing it’ , right? Almost seems kind of pointless though when you take into consideration that Iggy isn’ t from planet earth. Sheer energy.
10. Crass - The Feeding of the 5000
Sounds like it was recorded in the garden shed around the back of dial house, and sounds amazing for it. One great big snotty, anarchist middle finger in the air from my favorite punk band of all time.
Chicago guitarists Matt Jencik and Ken Camden make up the core of Implodes, what you might call a Kranky throwback band. The foursome perform gauzy, damaged songs with kernels of melody aching to break through to the surface. The band’ s self-titled debut in 2009 was released on Dusted staffer Dustin Drase’ s Plustapes cassette label, and was SO well received, Kranky totally poached them for this year’ s Black Earth full-length, which hit stores in April. The entire band took part in this week’ s Listed.
1. Luxurious Bags - Frayed Knots (Twisted Village, 1995)
I was listening to this album a lot when I started writing parts that would end up on Black Earth. The songs are a perfect mix of straight forward rock, lo-fi noise, drone & psychedelic music with some impressive guitar solos. I guess I can’ t say the record is underrated as many people don’ t seem to even know about it. (Matt)
2. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (Warner Bros., 1970)
This was the first record I ever owned. I first listened to it from start to finish, as all good records should be listened to, at only six years of age. This was my introduction to a much darker side of the world. Needless to say, it had a profound impact on me. I still listen to it frequently and if I have a choice in the matter, plan on making it the last record I ever listen to (Justin)
3. Flying Saucer Attack - New Lands (Domino/ Drag City, 1997)
It’ s hard to pick one single FSA album that has influenced me. This is definitely the one I was obsessed with when Matt and I were developing guitar sounds. Pearce has this brilliant wash over his recordings that make me feel like I’ m standing in a specific space that he designed. While most vocals are used to communicate some kind of narrative, his act as a tool to lure you into this space. "Whole Day Song" is a wonderful example of this. Every time I hear it I feel like I’ m standing in the rain starring off into the sky. (Ken)
4. The Cure - Faith (Fiction, 1981)
The tone of this album - it is bleak but I cannot help but listen to "All Cats Are Grey" on repeat. The extended drum introduction that eventually leads to the sad poetry of Robert Smith is textbook minimalism at its most atmospheric. Dark music that can also be accessible is probably our ultimate goal with a lot of Implodes’ non-ambient pieces. (Emily)
5. Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide (Hydrahead, 2006)
I was listening to a lot of black metal in the early stages of Implodes. in retrospect, it seems like that’ s all I was listening to at the time. I think there was a time when I was actually trying to write in a black metal style, but no matter how hard I tried the songs kept coming out sounding melodic. In a lot of ways I think Subliminal Genocide is the most successful Xasthur album. The guitar sound is massive, Malefic’ s screams sound totally demented and underneath all of the muck, there are some surprisingly beautiful moments. Songs like "Marker" were definitely influenced by the Xasthur’ s guitar sound & bleak atmosphere. (Matt)
6. Iron Curtain - Desertion 1982-1988 (Pylon, 2007)
I had never heard of this band until these songs were reissued as a compilation in 2007. Songs like "Condo" and "Anorexia" perfectly depict the darker societal behavior prevalent in 1980’ s Los Angeles and other areas with high concentrations of wealth. The use of stark chord structures and relentless repetition create the perfect vehicle for these bleak depictions. This band is a great reminder of the importance of keeping a song edited to it’ s bare essentials. (Ken)
7. Robert Ashley - Private Parts (the Record) (1977)
When Ken introduced me to Robert Ashley, the first thing that drew me in was the glacial pace and meditative tone of his spoken word. The second was the subtle, droning music in the background which served as a pulse for the often stream of conscious "lyrical" content. There is something about the slow yet effective nature of Ashley’ s albums (and public access television show) that I really strive to keep in mind when making songs. At times, the quiet moments in songs are just as effective as the music that surrounds them. (Emily)
8. Richard Pinhas - Iceland (Polydor, 1979)
This is a beautifully dark album from Heldon’ s mastermind Richard Pinhas. More ambient and perhaps more melodic than his Heldon output. His dark layering of synth chords and his remarkable guitar ability are both equally inspiring to me. I’ m always attracted to albums that are able create specific moods and this record most certainly accomplishes this. You can almost see the ice forming around these compositions. (Ken)
9. Pink Floyd - Obscured by Clouds (Harvest/EMI , 1972)
What can I say that has not already been said about Pink Floyd and their influence on "space rock" as a genre? This is the soundtrack to the Barbet Schroeder film La Vallée and has inspired some of the bass tones I enjoy with Implodes. Roger Waters has a way of making repetitious bass lines interesting and complex which, I feel, can be just as challenging as busy, charging parts. (Emily)
10. Neil Young - On the Beach (Reprise, 1974)
We all are big Neil Young fans. So many of his albums have had a deep influence on each of us that it’ s really hard to just pick just one. Song-wise, On the Beach doesn’ t have much influence on Black Earth but the acoustic guitar sound, strumming style and overall ’ downer’ vibe of songs like "Vampire Blues" & "Ambulance Blues" were definitely on our minds when writing & recording
tracks like "Open the Door" and the intro & outro of "Screech Owl."
By Dusted Magazine