[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Some of you may recall a few months back I wrote about BHRIDB’s monumental 9-part musical offering, consider this the single from that mammoth compendium. It is a very savvy move on the part of the artist and the label to release one piece of it as bait; oh you don’t think that’s what the aim is eh. Consider this. How many people do you know who’d be willing to tackle the multiple hours which have been composed by Black Hair in a single sitting? ‘Strength & Beauty’ is certainly the most approachable of the lot, why some bits of it even have an element of warmth to them. Don’t expect to glean out what this one had in mind when writing these seven tracks, for him this entire process is shrouded in secrecy. The majority of what is on this release is a reflection of that ethos; wherever there is an opportunity to obscure or blur the lines it is taken.
I continue to study what Black Hair do quite closely because I’m not entirely sure there’s a manifesto behind any of this, it may well be that he’s out to create soundtracks to the void we all possess in our minds. What’s that you say, stick to the subject? You listen to this repeatedly and then try to maintain a solid narrative, here’s betting it eludes you. This is another element in the work of this character: subterfuge. When I put on something this smoothly executed and it also manages to confound numerous attempts to nail down just what it is that holds my interest that is when the fun begins. Yes, I said fun. Listening to something which is more a form of auditory camouflage than it is soothing escapist noodling is pleasureable to me. What’s more, it is extremely entertaining to anyone around me whom I’ve coerced into coming along for the ride. “This sounds like someone dying. Why… why…. why!?”
A regular comedic cavalcade. This isn’t counting the long pauses of complete silence or the sour faces I’ve seen pulled.
Black Hair does not set out to be confrontational and from what I can make out of the myriad shapeshifting releases he’s done has no axe to grind. This is exploratory work, the places you’ll wind up visiting are quite odd but they are destinations I have no doubt you will want to re-visit again and again. It truly is a pleasure to bear witness to these kinds of evolutions in sound as they are being done in complete isolation without the slightest thought of broader exposure. Permit me to illuminate how barren of ideas and bereft of content the mainstream and even large segments of the underground have gotten: streaming numbers are now indicative of “success” or they are used to validate “relevance”. Surely there are others who can see through the lies and past the smugly smarmy gatekeepers who happily deny creativity any sort of due.
The one directive I come across repeatedly in what BHRIDB do is to question. To think. To consider both logic and reasoning against which all manner of diversionary and ephemeral trash is arrayed; move beyond that constant barrage telling you that you must oblige celebrity or give merit to the vapid whims of a thoroughly rotten entertainment “industry”. Find somewhere quiet where you can be alone with your thoughts, play this and then try to take any of what the talking heads say or do seriously. Why, indeed.