[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
One thing which you may rely on is that no matter how exotic your musical tastes are, there is always someone to push them further than you’d imagined possible. This collection of nine releases which the mysterious Black Hair Rolled in Dried blood have amassed during the first half of the year have managed to confound my senses at every turn. There are the long-form pieces which have within them several movements through all manner of sonic manipulation and provide a recurring backdrop, there are the compositions which hover between five and ten minutes moving the proceedings along gracefully. Then there are my favorites: the tracks which range between two and four minutes. These jolt like a shot of pure electrical current to the brain; what is fascinating with these is how they conform to the industry standards of pop music but manage to decimate accessibility with brutal abandon.
Imagine, if you will, discovering a valley bordered on all sides by high mountain ranges… now picture the sensation of motion with absolutely no progress being made. A vast, ever expanding panorama of scenery which does not abate or subside. Above you the sky changes patterns, day turns to night and the seasons shift in seconds but you never get to leave; though you continue to toil there is no release, time ceases to have any meaning while those you’ve known all your life wither and fall to decay in the ground.
At first you’d been so smug about this hidden jewel and contentedly set out to know all of it’s secrets but little did you know the scale against which you’d been cast.
This compendium of thirty-eight compositions stretches across the hours, reality and the cornerstones of sanity with an astonishing ease. Black Hair Rolled in Dried Blood have other, more approachable albums out there which have the requisite end to them but this grand experiment doesn’t seem to feature that. There are also the many projects which this entity has taken part in and surprisingly, they have been corralled into only a couple of places on the internet; don’t assume for an instant that you’ll be able to construct some kind of overall portrait of where this artist is going because I don’t think a destination is on the cards. You may take it in and you might come out the other side with an inkling of insight but the methodology itself remains beyond one’s grasp. The few details I know of about the reasoning involved in undertaking all of this were sent to me in the form of a communique directly from BHRIDB.
Every entry contained in this series could have wound up on the cutting room floor but I’m quite appreciative they didn’t. How easy it would have been to just forget all of these beauties and move on to the next project but the gentleman behind these wouldn’t hear of that. Now that I’m thinking of it, that very concept of perception divining reason out the indescribable may be what is driving the engine; each of the compact disc releases have a theme of an X being placed inside of a rectangular box, an entire kingdom wrought from dark matter which contains only replies… but what were the questions.
Contemplate a world in which everyone around you have the answers but are continually in pursuit of what birthed them.
I advise you to attempt deciphering this intricate set of riddles which your ears will sometimes strain to perceive while paradoxically have you scrambling to lower the volume a bit later because who could have seen that swerve coming? We have on our hands here a dynamic, counter-intuitive set impossibly alive with tantalizing creativity where possibility and probability collide with perpetually escalating animosity towards one another. It’d be a gross simplification to say Black Hair Rolled in Dried Blood are pitting order against chaos; the design element alone demonstrates he’s willing to commune with us -breaking cover as he stated in what he wrote me- but only on his terms and with his own approach to logic.
Black Hair’s latest physical offering I suspect is designed to hold the others due to the extended spindle in the center. Additionally, it sports an exterior finish of matte black which has been scratched up (at?) before literally being sealed. We puzzled over it for a while until locating something small enough to pry it open with! Now you just try and tell me the last time an artist required this of his audience. I couldn’t help but think of Pandora’s Box while parsing through these and am now wondering what fall-out is headed my way.
Black Hair Rolled in Dried Blood – 2016