new music: noise-rapper b l a c k i e ‘s ‘imagine your self in a free and natural world” is explosive, terrifying, and exhilarating. #soundcheck

August 5, 2014

There are few things worse than bad noise. But there are few things better than when it’s truly great and can hypnotize you and transport you beyond your own consciousness. There is no middle ground. No-one’s ever heard a noise act and thought “yeah that was OK.” Lucky for us Houston-based noise rapper B L A C K I E (all caps, with spaces) makes the kind of noise music that scrapes at the inside of your brain with a grapefruit spoon leaving you empty and fills your head back up with transcendent chaos. But, like, in a good way.

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

His latest, Imagine Your Self In A Free And Natural World is pure hypnotic chaos. Hyper distorted bass establish a haunting groove before being obliterated by bursts of drums and saxophone. His vocals on “Wings Blocking Out The Sun” range from the intoned spoken “a vulture rises, it turns itself into a fist” to blood curdling screams. Though he’s described to as noise rap, “Wings…” probably has more in common with doom metal mixed with Nation of Ulysses. As the song climaxes into a mess of ambient synths, minimal beats, and screams, the rest of the world sort of disappears. Or blurs. (I stared at a wall until it was over and I realized I’d stopped typing in mid-word. Your results may vary.)

“Forest of Ex-Lovers” is probably B L A C K I E ‘s most literally and visually evocative track. The lyrics trace an existential crisis through, well, a forest of ex-lovers, where our internal fears and self-doubt lie waiting like a snake. It’s the kind of abstract profundity that noise should strive for, when all-too-often noise acts are content to just explore “just shit that sounds cool, whatever, man.” It also sounds cool. What B L A C K I E does better than just about anyone else in the scene is use long stretches of repeated riffs to lull you into a false sense of security before pummeling you right as the moment where the lyrics hit their apex. It’s explosive, it’s terrifying, it’s exhilarating.