Blanche Blanche Blanche Breaking Mirrors

[Wharf Cat; 2013]

Styles: hyperreality (in the sense of 2 real 4 u)
Others: Henry Cow, Polysics, the Ramones

Book Club discussion notes for Breaking Mirrors

- compare back to 2013’s other release Wooden Ball: BM as more cohesive document, less playful (no Casio-cum-reggae), more focused, more hi-res

- album arranged as suite, as long series of body punches, listener is ideational punching bag

- the layering of unisons — the album cover that repeats drawn outlines and fills them with different tonal colors to complete a whole, the unison of guitar and bass and keyboards across different octaves, the brief repetition of melodic and harmonic motifs across the album so the whole thing is constantly in the state of calling up and down (across octaves) and left to right (between songs)

- the lesson of plainsong is that layered unisons create an underpinning architectural sense of delicate force, in that there is nowhere to escape from the body of the monophony; here, the musical monophony creates a sense of constant ping-pong (again underscored by the unstable herky-jerk of the rhythms) between the hammer of the music and the tongs of Sarah Smith’s vocals — basically either be hit or captured

- BBB discover thick bass tones (exciting)

- aforehinted use of rhythm as form of defamiliarization tool, constant rocking of the backbeat-boat; is the lesson here that this music is the result of awareness and awareness as prize of art? …rhythm here functions like an alarm clock constantly going off, pure action

- “Zeroing In” proves that said twistiness is not and never merely programmatic, as progression goes straight to the spinal cord, straight to the same part of the pleasure-oriented brain that Gobsuckers The Runners Four hit

- recastings of “TED Talks” and “Rich Man” utilize “punk” force (this is mirror-breaking music, after all) while maintaining the compositional uncertainty and movement — album as a whole as absorption, reinterpretation and renewal of punk aesthetics through recasting its own image (electronic drums, rhythms [again], dismissal of simple v/c/v/c) and maintaining refusal to provide simple answers or condemnation of complex issues while also calling out bastards for being so

- “Market Thrush” defuses the rhythmic tension while building harmonic tension, like a grim drumless march into the space between feelings, as it occupies the space between sides

- overall, rearrangement of old logics into new ones, if they aren’t bypassed entirely; arrival at a new form of BBB, one holding a weapon that is unrecognizable with a fury that’s unmistakable

- which is to say that the abstruse delivered with immense urgency (like here) takes on the properties of a cloud of wasps passing your window with the air of a warning

- tension defused by “I Just Wanna Know,” which translates notion of “pop hit” into pure verb, in that it’s literally a Ramones-sized punch

- beyond that “I Just Wanna Know” as “mission statement,” the band is refreshingly/exhaustingly tireless in trying to seek out new ways of apprehending everything

- how do they keep doing this?

Links: Blanche Blanche Blanche - Wharf Cat

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