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Dean Blunt

LIVE REVIEW: Dean Blunt, Jazzhouse, 20.03.2015

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Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

 

The first thing you need to know about going to see Dean Blunt live is that you are not going to see much of old Blunters himself. Shrouded in a heavy swirl of dry ice, the London producer’s presence is only intuited though his downbeat vocals and a baseball cap emerging from the cloud. It is only through the magic of our photographer’s x-ray camera that I find out, a day later, that there was someone standing behind Dean Blunt.

This air of mystery and intensity is at odds with the mood of the opening band, Danish r’n’b act Liss, consisting of Søren Holm, Villads Tyrrestrup, Vilhelm Strange and Tobias Laust. Their sound draws on everything from the Police to R. Kelly, 90s UK garage, 80s funk, though judging by their appearance they are far too young to have experienced any of those artists at first hand. Boasting an impressive rhythm section and good vocalist, the band look to be the Scandinavian answer to the colourful nostalgia of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

Dean Blunt Jazzhouse-7564

If you came to Copenhagen’s Jazzhouse in the hope of spending some time in the often lush eccentricities of Dean Blunt’s critically-acclaimed Black Metal, then you were woefully ill-prepared for this gig. Blunt and his ghostly gang begin with the first couple of tracks from the album, “Lush” and “50 cent”, beset by technical problems (something to do with the microphone cable by the sound of it), which added a tense quality to his chanted vocals. Most of the sounds are produced by a sampler, but these sound oddly compressed. The effect is less cinematic than the album, but also more surreal.

The glint of metal from a saxophone is briefly visible on stage before the lights all go off and the group launches into “Grade”, which mutates into a ten-minute soundscape of explosions and tortured sax squeals. It is roughly at this point that I remember having seen two odd shapes at the front of the stage while the crew was setting up. They are revealed to be strobe lights, directed directly into the audience’s eyes, unleashed on us for the last 20 or so minutes of the set. To be perfectly honest I spent most of that time trying to decipher the alien messages hidden in the strobe sequences, and therefore found it hard to concentrate on what songs were being played. I do recall a girl standing behind me singing the bass-line to “Punk” with both hands covering her eyes.

Though the above description sounds rather too much like a form of psychological torture, it’s undeniable that Dean Blunt takes the live experience seriously. His presence/absence on stage, the confrontational lighting, can be seen as dedication to providing his audience with a dramatic experience, though not an easy one to explain.

PLAYLIST: Here Today’s Concerts

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The month of March will not only be treating us with some exciting concerts, but also Sonar Festival (March 13-14). We have updated our “Here Today Concerts” playlist with a few selected artists that you might want to spend a night listening to. Among them are Dean Blunt, Jessica Pratt, Yung (tonight with Total Heels), Ex Hex and Wounded Kings.

Yung + Total Heels (Stengade, 04.03.2015)

As the music scene centered around Mayhem is becoming more widely known, you might be fooled into thinking that it is the only place to go underground in Denmark. That is not the case, though, as Aarhus has it’s own very lively scene. Yung is one of the most promising bands that have emerged from there in the last few years. Tonight (March 4. 2015) they will be playing Stengade along with another great band: Total Heels. Didn’t make it to any of Iceage’s sold out shows at Jazzhouse last week? Well don’t worry, good times are waiting at Stengade. [Link to event.]

Ex Hex (Loppen, 05.03.2015)

According to The Guardian’s 5 star review of Ex Hex’s 2014 album, Rips, the band “sit somewhere near the middle of a Go-gos/Ramones/Sleater-Kinney Venn diagram, and join latterday power-pop aces like Warm Soda, the Love Triangle and Sheer Mag in making some of the most endlessly repeat-listenable should-be-hits of recent years.”

What else is there to say, sounds fun, right? [Link to event.]

Dean Blunt (Jazzhouse, 20.03.2015)

Dean Blunt, who plays Jazzhouse on the 20th of March, is an interesting new breed of experimental lo-fi R&B, dub and electronica. Last year he released the album Black Metal to great critical acclaim.

Dean Blunt is also one half of Hype Williams. [Link to event.]

Jessica Pratt (Stengade, 28.03.2015)

San Fransisco born singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt has just released her second album, On Your Own Love Again. Forget laptop wall-of-sound productions, Jessica Pratt made her album on an analogue 4-track recorder with little more than a guitar and her voice. As Pitchfork writes, it worked out really well: “Its warm, home-recorded atmosphere is more dramatic and distinctive than Jessica Pratt [her debut album]: finger-picked psychedelia, lucidly layered harmonies, hissy tape effects, an overcast haze. But Pratt’s songwriting is more cohesive and concise, her whispered secrets more alluring”. [Link to event.]

Wounded Kings (Loppen, 18.03.2015)

Life can not always be expressed in freak-folk and “repeat-listenable should-be-hits”. Sometimes you need a bit of doom metal and this is where The Wounded Kings enter the scene. Their latest album Consolamentum has received great praise among reviewers. If you sometimes find yourself nodding along to Black Sabbath, Wounded Kings are worth considering. [Link to event]

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