DEAN BLUNT & INGA COPELAND: Black Is Beautiful (Hyperdub Records)


Posted on Apr 4th 2012 01:26 am

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Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland: Black Is Beautiful

Black Is Beautiful
Hyperdub Records 2012
15 Tracks. 39mins16secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD

Having so far operated mainly as Hype Williams, a slightly enigmatic outfit which as spurted three odd and oblique albums on Carnivals, De Stijl and Hippos In Tanks in less than two years, Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland are now stepping out as themselves (if these are indeed their real identities) for their debut release on Hyperdub. But, apart for the name change, nothing has really changed for the pair. Black Is Beautiful is equally as convoluted, obsessive, schizophrenic and dreamy as its predecessors, and it is all the better for it.

Sounding like something half way between an amateurish mixtape and an odd lab experiment, Black Is Beautiful is pretty impossible to pigeonhole, its influences reaching far and wide, with no particular strand taking any precedence over any other at any point. It is neither pop nor DIY nor electronic, yet it is all that and much much more, crammed into forty minutes of abstract sonic constructions, scattered across fifteen tracks in total, of which only the first, Venice Dreamway, has an actual title. And, whilst a handful of these spread over a good few minutes, there are plenty which last barely long enough to be noticed as individual pieces, making the overall listening experience quite demanding. Tracks start without preamble, are cut short  or switch from one set up to an entirely different one with no obvious link between the two or, on the contrary, are stretched out around a single idea or motif until they lose all substance. There is no apparent logic to any of this, yet it somehow fits into a coherent chaotic whole.

This album is fueled with cheap synths washes, cheesy drum machines and ghostly electronics wrapped around sluggish raps, hazy pop choruses and fragmented instrumentals. Copeland’s vocals are equally as versatile and uncompromising, at times sounding soft and gentle (2, 11), enigmatic (5, 12), haunting (9) or cutting (10). Like much of the sounds used throughout, her voice is often distorted to some extend, to the point of sounding at times nothing more than a component amongst others. Contrasting with her feminine tones, a much more heavily distorted version of it, sounding like a budget Darth Vader, occasionally infiltrates some of these tracks to throw in more tension.

Black Is Beautiful is as uncompromising and disconcerting as any of the pair’s previous work, yet it is also extremely playful and thrilling, as they take the counterpoint of pretty much everything they touch. Ultimately, as unlikely as it may sound, this album is a wonderful, almost magical, piece of work which deserves to be heard again and again, just for the sake of it.


Hyperdub Records
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD

Filed in Albums | Tags: , ,
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One Response to “DEAN BLUNT & INGA COPELAND: Black Is Beautiful (Hyperdub Records)”

  1. dfsdfon 07 Apr 2012 at 1:53 am

    It’s HDBLP012 not HDB012