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02 May 13
Review: Given the label's cultivation of previously unheralded talent such as Raime and Dalhous, a new name on Blackest Ever Black is always going to be an enticing prospect. Alexander Lewis seems keen to maintain a low profile, but A Luminous Veil is one of the most striking debuts in the field of industrial electronics we've heard in some time. Supposedly created using only synth, microphone and pedals, and apparently recorded in one take with minimal computer processing or post-production, it's a varied set from start to finish; opener "The Third Room" and "Figure Moving" both sound like synthesized power metal, while "Mirror Fragment" creates a foreboding drone landscape; "She Demands Attention" meanwhile places what sounds like a short wave radio monologue amidst squalling guitar feedback. With shades of the material coming from Dominick Fernow's Hospital Productions and the more extreme ends of Editions Mego, A Luminous Veil is essential listening.
10 Apr 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Leftfield
Review: Blackest Ever Black have carved themselves an intriguing little niche with their array of releases to date, accruing attractive if decidedly bleak contributions from the likes of Regis, Tropic Of Cancer and Raime which differ in sound if not in tone. Now I'm Just A Number: Soundtracks 1994-95 is perhaps the London label's most ambitious work to date, presenting seven fully remastered tracks from Black Rain, the industrial project of NYC avant garde icon Stuart Argabright and Shinichi Shimokawa. All the tracks featured here originate from Black Rain being commissioned to provide music for both William Gibson's audio book adaptation of his seminal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer as well as Robert Longo's poorly conceived film Johnny Mnemonic. With their productions for the latter being cut from the finished film, the only chance prior to this release of hearing them was on the 1995 album 1.0. Fully remastered for your audio pleasure by Mat Colton at Air, the deeply dystopian nature of Black Rain's music will thrill those with more esoteric tastes and it's probably best left to the sound clips for you to get a full idea of the lurching, foreboding industrial nature.
13 May 13
Review: An Ambassador For Laing sees the Edinburgh-based duo of Marc Dall and Alex Ander further explore their new sound as Dalhous, having previously surfaced with film score influenced gothic pop under the Young Hunting moniker. As Dalhous, the pair has traded in the Young Hunting sound which perhaps sounded a bit too close to Blackest Ever Black label mates Raime for an approach more explicitly concerned with lurching industrial rhythms and sweeping orchestral vistas. Across the eleven tracks on the album, Dalhous explore soundscapes that feel dreamlike yet there's always a sensation matters could take a wholly more foreboding turn at any moment. Standout moments include the bristling instrumental beats of "Who's Here You're Here I'm Here..." and the hazed out finger snaps of "The Cruel Practice Of Art". Overall the album marks another compelling entrant into the Blackest Ever Black canon.
24 Jan 13
Played by: Rivet
Review: The inauguration of Dalhous rounds off a watershed year for Blackest Ever Black, with the label promising to be even more ambitious in 2013. Long term BEB adherents will be familiar with the Dalhous pairing of Marc Dall and Alex Ander who previously appeared on the label under the droning, paganistic Young Hunting banner with the Night Of The Burning 12" last year. Dalhous is described by the label as the commencement of a new chapter in the Edinburgh based duo's musical story, adopting a more rhythmic approach with the results explicitly more industrial in tone. Picture a Coil remix of Boards of Canada and you're in the right frame of mind for opening track "You Don't Know What You Want, Do You" which presents a finely judged balance between sample based atmosphere and juddering beats, whilst "Success Is Her Sensuality" is a wonderful swelling mass of sonic chaos.
10 Oct 12
Review: Confessions is a new offshoot of ever-surprising London based label Blackest Ever Black. With appearances from techno hero Regis, cult underground artist Vatican Shadow, and post-punk outfit Black Rain in BEB's short lifespan, noise legend Pete Swanson's appearance on the first release is yet another indication of the respect the label is gaining among the underground noise, industrial and techno community. His track, "Positive", is a searing piece of dread which is perhaps even less accessible than his recent Man With Potential album on Type, while Moin's "Elsie" is an example of typically scorched industrial post-punk in the spirit of Tropic of Cancer.
12 Apr 13
Review: Dominick Fernow's prolific output continues apace here with a new Prurient album Through The Window for Kiran Sande's esteemed Blackest Ever Black label. Through The Window is formed of three tracks that apparently originated in the sessions Fernow recorded for the 2011 Prurient LP Bermuda Drain and the more recent Times Arrow 12", and can be seen as a further devilish ode to Fernow's "affection for European techno forms, but also his ability to apply them to his own uniquely lacerating purpose". The opening title track is perhaps the most eviscerating display of this intent, clocking up nearly 20 minutes but both additional productions prove to be just as compelling.
26 Nov 12
Played by: Jt86
Review: Raime inaugurated the Blackest Ever Black label, so it makes sense that the London duo should be the first artists on the label's ever growing roster to deliver a full album. Quarter Turns Over A Living Line finds Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead progressing from the sample based material of their early releases in favour of live instrumentation, though the elongated sessions spent "painstakingly piecing together" the hours of recorded music ensures their trademark eeriness and despondency remains intact. There's a boldness of vision apparent from the rumbling, recycled orchestrations of lead track "Passed Over Trail" that captures your attention and doesn't relent from there. "The Last Foundry" comes across like a funeral procession mourning the passing of Skull Disco, while "Exist In The Repeat Of Practice" brandishes the kind of foreboding stasis that was prevalent in much of Demdike Stare's Modern Love Tryptych of releases. A plinking digidub rhythm seems thrillingly incongruous amidst the enveloping sonic drudgery of "The Walker In Blast & Bottle", while Raime could feasibly soundtrack a spaghetti western set in Dante's Hell with "Your Cast Will Tire". Quarter Turns Over A Living Line makes for a quite brilliant body of work that demands your full attention and craves repeat listens.
19 Apr 12
Review: With a label name like Blackest Ever Black, this was never likely to be a barrel of laughs. Surprisingly, the two tracks here aren't quite as bleak as you'd expect. Opener "The Foundry" is actually quite sweet in a melancholic kind of way, with yearning, heart-aching melodies tumbling over glitchy, industrial-inspired IDM beats. It's like some of Autechre's more ambient moments, only slightly more minimal (if that makes sense). "We Must Hunt Under The Wreckage Of Many Systems" is colder and sparser, as if Raime were trying to soundtrack a paranoid stumble through the kitchen at five in the morning in search of post-club snacks.
28 Sep 11
Played by: Paul Mac, Max_m (M_rec Ltd.), Juno Recommends Techno, Mirko S., Enclave, Dcibel, Distortion, Junoplus, A.trebor, Kryptic Minds
Review: For all the talk of Blackest Ever Black being a neo Gothic construct, there is no doubt that its latest missive is techno in its purest sense. Taking inspiration from Karl O'Connor's own Kalon release on Sandwell District, "Blood Witness" projects a more organic, ethnic take on the dense rhythmic flurry that fuelled "Man Is The Superior Animal". O'Connor's reshape with Mick Harris teases out the eerie desert-parched soundscapes against the backdrop of rawer rhythms, while on "Blinding Horses", the spectre of blood spilled on sand reverberates around the pummelling broken beats. No one does techno darker than Regis.
25 Jan 12
Played by: Abel Mortis
Review: The reputation of Blackest Ever Black has grown to the point where the arrival of a new record bearing their name never fails to generate excitement, mainly because you simply don't know what you're going to get. Young Hunting, the artist name for Edinburgh's Marc Dall and Alex Ander, is a case in point; combining tribal rhythms and looming bass, they're very much a perfect fit for the label, while sounding like nothing else. Opener "Embers From The Pyre" utilises a hesitant rhythm with manic pagan bells to evoke a sense of dread, before finishing off with a spoken word outro, while the lavish orchestration of "A Hunger Artist" offers a more cinematic, but no less frenetic pace, as the rapid drumming is punctuated with desperate lyrics. Up next, "Spritual Abandonment" offers the warmest melodic moments of the EP, but they're continually pulled out from under you by the avant-garde progressions. The EP closes with "Entrance Form The Carnal Mind", a track that sets a gothic scene with its organ and choral voices, leading to an ending of abstract despair, with the kind of furious vocals that bring to mind Mark E Smith interrupting a black mass.