new music: post-hardcore rapper b l a c k i e (all caps, with spaces) finds new universes of noise on his exhilarating ‘remains’ #soundcheck

May 15, 2017

Like plate tectonics smashing continents together, B L A C K I E ‘s latest LP Remains is an unstoppable force, sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes overwhelming, but always awe-inspiring. B L A C K I E ‘s music is often described as “noise rap” but the tinges of punk rock, post-hardcore, industrial, and even minimalism that color his music belie the oversimplification of the term “noise rap.” Be clear: there’s nothing simple about Remains.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK contributor

REMAINS by B L A C K I E… All Caps, With Spaces

From the opening strains of a bass distorted just to the point of abstraction, B L A C K I E specializes in doing the exact opposite of whatever you’d expect. The screamed vocals increase in urgency, the music gets quieter. A toy piano drives “Academy Academy,” one of his only songs to feature a proper chorus, so of course every single sample is detuned. B L A C K I E ‘s music is all about exposing the lie of safety in modern society. You are never safe, least of all when you think you are. If you graphed social unrest and then fed the shape through an oscillator it would sound like this.

The album finds its height on “Position Targeted,” an alienating blast of noise and saxophones and screaming that’s mind-boggling in its complexity. Through an almost impenetrable burst of noise, B L A C K I E ‘s voice screams through the void, shattering the core of your existence. It’s like staring into static on a screen and slowly realizing there are patterns, shapes, and colors and whole universes dying and being re-born in the fray. It’s not for the faint of heart, but then, what is in 2017?

Photo via Discogs