Posts Tagged ‘Black Mass’

An innovative and expressively poignant collaboration between composers Marc Canham and DuoTone, ‘Black Mass’ hearkens to a mysterious and enigmatic art, where fragile quietude melds with foreboding and pulsating tension.

Consisting of four cello-led pieces, ‘Black Mass’ is an EP that explores the varied sonic capabilities of this emotionally charged instrument. Lyrical, textured and percussive, the performances of DuoTone are manipulated and transformed into a kaleidoscope of submersive sound accompanied by Canham’s shadowy electronic textures and twists.

Watch the video for ‘Parallel Worlds’ from the EP here:

A complementary pairing, Canham and DuoTone are musical visionaries seeking to break down supposed genre boundaries to explore new aural terrain. ‘Black Mass’ radiates with their pioneering ability, resulting in an emotionally profound and exquisite landscape of dark ethereal beauty.

Canham’s bespoke methodology has never been constricted by compositional archetypes, instead continuously remoulding auditory spectrums where the acoustic and the electronic synchronise. This has resulted in a magnificent output of film, TV and game soundtracks, including an array of acclaimed works such as the scores for cult thrillers ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ (starring Gemma Arterton) and ‘I Care A Lot’ (starring Rosamund Pike), for which Canham won an ASCAP Screen Music Award. He also scored Channel 4’s ‘Deceit’ (starring Niamh Algar).

Multi-instrumentalist DuoTone (the moniker of Barney Morse-Brown) has an unorthodox approach to his work, displaying an incredible versatility in his use of guitar, percussion, voice and cello that has resulted in otherworldly yet intimate soundscapes. A master of melancholic arrangements, he has an uncanny ability of inviting listeners into his very own contemplative and introspective realm. In addition to his solo career, he is no stranger to musical collaboration and has toured, performed and recorded with award winning artists such as Birdy, Maya Yousef and Robert Plant.

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Armalyte Industries – 7th December 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

However dark, gritty and sleazy <PIG> have gone over the course of their lengthy (try 30 year) if sporadic career, there’s always been both a wry humour and an appreciation of pop in evidence. This has been thrust to the fore in the latest releases in the shape of the grimy but shiny glam of ‘Risen’ and Raymond Watts’ most recent collaboration with Sasha Grey for a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band’s ‘That’s the Way (I Like It)’ which was pure pop and pure filth in equal measure.

The three covers on offer here – Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Elvis’ ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ (John Lennon) – are quite surprising in their straightness, but that isn’t to say there isn’t a twist. That is to say, it sounds like <PIG> covering some Christmas classics. Of course, the instrumentation is a little different, and Watts’ gravelly, low-throated style is distinctive to say the least – meaning that George Michael’s heartbroken lament is transformed into a leery come-on with more than a hint of Tom Waits about it, not to mention guitars that sounds like a Status Quo 45 played at 33.

‘Blue Christmas’ trudges and grinds, with Watts delivering his best snarling, sneering JG Thirlwell imitation against a backdrop of Bryan May guitars and soaring chorals. The incongruity is both genius and magic. Wrapping things up with ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, Watts backs off the irony, the sleaze, and the bombast. There’s no knowing wink behind the gravelly croon here, and it’s genuinely touching. And with all of the profits from this release going to

International Rescue Committee, the purpose of which is to ‘reunite refugee families torn apart by war, persecution or harmful policies’, we get to see a different side to <PIG>: for all of the theatricality, for all of Watt’s near-preposterous showmanship, there’s a real sense of humanity not even a scratch beneath the surface. With Black Mass Watts proves he’s not only the God of Gammon but a decent human being, spreading the real spirit of Christmas in these particularly bleak, Trump and Brexit-dominated times.

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Pig - Black Mass