In 2014 ‘Black Metal’ arrived as Blunt’s 4th solo album in a string of quietly groundbreaking and guess-again solo recordings following the break-up of Hype Williams, his duo with Inga Copeland. It was an instant fave, raved about everywhere, and with the benefit of hindsight is arguably one of the past decade’s definitive highlights; a record symptomatic of the way staid generic borders were dissolving, expressing a lucid but woozy pathos that still feels timeless, yet very much of its flat-time, when the stream of musical history had pooled into the reservoir of the internet.
Returning to its slow baked charms 7 years later ‘Black Metal’ has lost none of its fascinating allure, with a reflective stillness still belying its depths. Nimbly joining wipe clean presets and crisp licks of original instrumentation with vocals by Blunt and regular spar Joanne Robertson, their baker’s dozen tunes somehow consolidate aspects of everything from hip hop to chamber music, indie-pop to R&B with experimental wit and ohrwurming magick that places it among his most memorable and surprising records.
From the symphonic Americana lilt of ‘Lush’ to its amazing 13 minute centrepiece of chamber soul gauze ‘Forever’ and the free jazz meets folk and roadrap synthscape of ‘Grade’ it coolly piques curiosity and perplexes from every angle, resolving unfamiliar styles with a pop-sharpened manner that follows a path first taken by A.R. Kane and which quite possibly ignited a reappraisal of the problematic way in which Black music has been perceived and categorised in popular/critical culture.