♫♪  Joanne Robertson - “Had My Guard Up To U (Since ‘92) Freestyle” [prod. Dean Blunt]

Yeah yeah, okay, Dean Blunt’s a mystery. A big basket of red herrings. I feel ya. But then what would you call Joanne Robertson? At this point, her role in Blunt’s sound world is an even bigger question mark: though ostensibly Inga Copeland’s cut-and-paste “replacement,” she comes across as a business partner, not a lover, somehow lacking autonomy in spite of having free reign to be her folky self on Blunt’s cagey solo releases. Even if we wanted to praise Robertson’s songwriting abilities in her own right, it would be impossible — “PROD. DEAN BLUNT” is oddly stamped on every solo track; she’s the featured artist on fully-her-own-song “Heat”; Skin Fade was practically The Joanne Robertson Show yet, without explanation, we instinctually knew it to be all Blunt’s doing.

And now we’ve got this new snip of a song, “Had My Guard Up To U (Since ‘92) Freestyle,” the least Robertson-looking and -sounding song yet. As it fades in on laptop speakers, it sounds a bit like a slower Wu-Tang beat (Raekwon was quoted during “Free Jazz” and they’ve been throwing the W up since ‘92), though when I listen in my car, it’s a non-hip-hop, super-lush loop, Robertson’s voice calling and Blunt’s guitar responding over the strings as they both skate around the roller rink with smiles and big cowboy hats. It remains to be seen what Robertson and Blunt are up to exactly, but as ever the music itself is just as compelling as the chase.

Okay, now to reward you with a couple bits of HIGHLY INTERESTING news: tonight in London, Blunt is presenting Urban at the ICA, the second in a series of events hosted by NTS where artists are asked to “dynamically bridge the gap between” visual and musical disciplines. It’s also the only place you will be able to get Blunt’s new, self-released Mersh/Grade 12-inch (in the words of my role model Nikki Finke, TOLDJA!!), apparently limited to 250 copies. [Update: turns out to be a 10-inch and you can get it at Boomkat.] Secondly, according to this label feature at Resident Advisor, “a new LP from arch provocateurs Hype Williams” is scheduled for release on Hyperdub later this year. Whoa bro.

• Joanne Robertson: https://soundcloud.com/joanne-robertson
• Dean Blunt: https://soundcloud.com/cplnd

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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