Blanck Mass - School of Art, Glasgow, Sun 18 Mar (4 stars)

Blanck Mass - School of Art, Glasgow, Sun 18 Mar

Lee Goldup

Fuck Buttons' Benjamin John Power's intense ambient electronica

In comparison to Fuck Buttons, his and Andrew Hung’s punishing drone-techno crucible, Benjamin John Power’s solo project Blanck Mass makes music that manages to recreate the elegia and emotional power of club-ready electronic music with none of the basslines. Twenty years ago this would have been called ambient, and in this room – lights turned down really low, power lit only gently before us, dimly-visible bodies strewn in peaceful repose on the floor in front of the stage – there was womb-like calm.

For a time, at least. As the set progressed the occasional bass note thudded as if dropped to the floor. Power’s live keys seemed strangely disembodied, but they chimed with the sweet uplift of good house music. In presumable tribute to his friend and attendee at this show Stuart Braithwaite, the churning guitar riff of Mogwai’s ‘Rano Pano’ was mixed in and reversed at one point. And then, even as the set threatened to dissipate into a fuzz of chimes and noise from the Pink Floyd playbook of designer psychedelia, a dark, minimal tribal beat kicked in, and kept kicking for half an hour. Much like Fuck Buttons, Power’s Blanck Mass does nothing new and everything with an emotional intensity that goes beyond instinct.

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