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Dean Blunt - Black Metal (2xLP + Download Card)
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Record Label: Rough Trade

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In its review of Dean Blunt’s The Redeemer – which they later named their top album of 2013 - FACT called Blunt “the premier art prankster of our time,” while acknowledging his earnestness; Tiny Mix Tapes, who would give the album the #2 spot in their best of the year rankings, praise the work for its liberating “short-circuiting of the boundaries of taste and instilled critical response,” while speaking to the album’s near-paradoxical emotional depth.

Blunt’s newest odyssey, Black Metal, rides this tension between critical detachment and mainlined human feeling, and in fact he climbs ever-steeper theoretical heights just as his emotionally stark songs become, at times, startlingly intimate. A true multi-media vanguard, Blunt employs original instrumentation along with elements of pastiche and his unique vocal performances to create songs and recordings that are not only beautiful, but also tie into his larger project that incorporates music, visual art, and the written word to play with identity, cultural signifiers, and artistic agency.

But Black Metal is above all a brilliant, majestic collection of songs, encompassing everything from hypnotic long-form experiments to ballads almost disarming in their sweet simplicity, swirling equally with fascinating sounds and fascinating ideas. Blunt’s influences are wide-ranging, from rock’s underground pioneers (he quotes Sonic Youth in interviews; the album leads with a Big Star sample), to neo-classical composers, to early indie pop (another track samples The Pastels), to classic rock, hip-hop, and R&B. But rather than coldly compiling them, Blunt brings the works and genres he draws from into a new musical and cultural conversation.

With his newest, most accomplished, and most vexing album, Black Metal, Dean Blunt invites us to draw our own conclusions in his expansive and fascinating world.