BNJMN, Black Square

[Rush Hour Direct Current]


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Since debuting with the Plastic World LP, released earlier this year on Rush Hour’s Direct Current sub-label, the English producer BNJMN has been prolific, turning in solid follow-ups for Svetlana Industries and Stolen Kisses. His work rate is hardly surprising. BNJMN’s sound is difficult to pin down; sitting somewhere between thumping modern house and lightheaded IDM, it offers a wealth of possibilities. The Black Square LP finds him returning to Direct Current with a more somber outlook.

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Clocking in at around a half-hour, Black Square could be a mini LP, a judgment that applies to its sonics as well. In many ways it feels like the flipside to Plastic World; its tracks are muted, autumnal off-cuts compared to that record’s exuberant experimentalism. “Primal Pathways” pairs poignant synths and hand drums that click and clack, but remains in a sort of tired stasis, never really taking off. “Keep the Power Out” maintains a similar feel, as its stumbling drums and tightly looped vocal rarely let up. “Open the Floodgates” is perhaps the most pumping, uptempo piece here, but even its main melody ends up sounding slightly middling by the end.

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The aforementioned tracks are all incredibly crisp, and their elements are perfectly aligned. BNJMN’s past productions have greatly benefitted from this sense of patience, but there’s simply less to hold on to here. The most successful pieces on Black Square show the producer almost forgoing beats entirely. The title track’s orchestral swells, radio static, and distant guitar are only undercut by a bass drum and occasional congas. “Lava” builds slow and hypnotic as its title suggests, piling gleaming strings atop sawing lines and again, very minimal percussion. And the rigidly swung “River Way” shows how right things can go when BNJMN focuses on his drums, which are melded with a wobbly tone and cinematic strings for its brief run-time. Black Square offers another reminder of BNJMN’s talent; an LP that tries to capture simple beauty and sometimes succeeds, but other times runs aground placing its ultra-clean sound palette over structural movement.

rubin  on October 28, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Mint album by why oh why is it on a single 12

Bill Cartwright  on October 28, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Like this a whole lot more than Plastic World. The “exuberant”, colourful sound palette on Plastic World felt too plastic (sorry) to me. Either way, the guy is definitely a very talented producer.

parker  on November 20, 2011 at 11:39 AM

there’s also an EP called 141 on Svetlana which is something different again

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds October Chart 2011 | Little White Earbuds  on November 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM

[…] Life Libido” [Dial] (buy) 08. Luomo, “Good Stuff” [Moodmusic] (buy) 09. BNJMN, “Open The Floodgates” [Rush Hour Direct Current] (buy) 10. C-Beams, “Strollin’ Speechless” [Uncanny […]

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