Friday, 17 May 2013

Recommended music: 'The Redeemer' by Dean Blunt

I'm going to set my stall out early on this one - I think that this record is a work of artistic brilliance. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's musically brilliant all the way through (although it is for most of the time), but I just get the sense with this the Blunt knew exactly what he wanted to achieve and didn't let anyone detract from his end goal. As a result this astonishing record is pretty much impossible to categorise, so I recommend that you don't even try. What you should do instead is listen to it over and over again to appreciate every nuance, every aspect of the work that he's constructed. Treat it like a painting; the longer you spend looking at it (or listening to it in this case) the more it will reveal to you.

Dean Blunt (possibly)
It's hard to pin down any concrete facts about Dean Blunt, other than he was one half of Hype Williams (now defunct) and his name isn't really Dean Blunt. In the very occasional interviews he's granted in the past he's provided deliberately obscure and misleading answers, all adding to the sense that this is someone who's  in the music business for the art rather than the fame.

The record seems to tell the story of a man in a troubled relationship - the 19 tracks (some only a few seconds long/ include bitter voicemails, electronic interrogations - "what you did was wrong" - glass smashing and car alarms being set off. The titles meanwhile - Demon, Need 2 Let U Go, Dread, Predator, build a picture of betrayal, obsession and fear. All of this is set against some wildly varying, occasionally discordant, styles of music and topped off with Blunt's deep, languorous vocal. For me the highlight of the piece  is when the harps and choirs of 'Y3' give way to the amazing Pink Floyd sample that heralds the start of 'Papi (listen to the track below), over which Blunt croons "You bring out the best in me" to his estranged partner. The next track consists entirely of Big Ben chiming. Seriously.

I'm running out of superlatives to describe this record, so I'll do you a favour and shut up - but only if you promise to go and listen to it.

Album of the year (so far).

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