Individual Tracks £
- Be Lost (feat Veronica So)
- Dance (feat Stuart Warwick)
- Turn Me (feat Ghostape)
- Psychic Heartburn
- Tears I Can Afford
- Art Ebb Lull Us
- The Lodger
- Ballo Dei Morti
- No Apocalypse
All nervous energy, ill-defined brilliance, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism, Man is Deaf is the new album from London based electronic musician Brassica. Sophisticated and distinctive it distills Michael Anthony Wright’s storied musical past; capturing new wave, psych, synth music, avant garde electronics, house, and italo disco; without sounding consigned to any part of it.
Brassica’s obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition have created something self-consciously experimental and intellectual yet wonderfully refined and thrillingly accessible. Seamless, idiosyncratic and immaculately produced yet wilfully lo-fi, the album is rich with musical and lyrical detail and while the originality and non-conformity at play is to be applauded, this album will not scare off anyone with an interest in music beyond the mainstream. Man is Deaf is not exactly a dance album; and although there is music you can dance to on it, it’s ability to excite is accomplished with no diminution on its makers creativity.
With the album full of melody lines by Moog and Fender Rhodes, rather than Roland 303s or 909s, Brassica is more likely to cite paragons like Talking Heads, King Crimson or Return to Forever as inspirations than Derrick May, Cabaret Voltaire or Aphex Twin, yet all these influences and more are cultivated to create something new that still manages to be oddly familiar. It’s in the pathos of the promiscuous liaisons between noirish anxiety, elements that could have been caned by Belgian new beat and Italian Cosmic DJs, naughty MIDI riffs and orchestral moments that this album generates a gripping power of its own.
Brassica’s vocals appear on three tracks; the hope giving and Arthur Russell resembling Tears I Can Afford, the theological questioning in Air esque Psychic Heartburn, and Deplore, a song for Travis Bickle. Guests vocalists include long time collaborator Stuart Warwick, avant garde electronic producer Ghostape and notably Veronica So from celebrated noise/art band Teeth; (who begins her contribution on album opener Be Lost with the line “Everything Not Saved, Will Be Lost”, famously the unintentionally profound quit screen message from a Nintendo console).
Appealingly non-linear Man is Deaf is able to throw you off balance, grabbing your attention with moments that seem alternately unnerving and endearing. Many overt eccentricities hide in this record. A vocoded Italian translation of Slayer’s “Dead Man Skin” in Balo Di Morti. Brian Ferry’s Saxophonist Jorja Renn appears on Be Lost and Psychic Heartburn. Anagrammatic Art Eb Lull Us was written on an old Hammond Organ with a nod towards Mike Oldfield. The Lodger contains the breaths and grunts of a contemporary dance troupe recorded in a collaboration 15 years prior, and the voice of Emile Bojesen (whose little documented collaborations with Brassica as synth punk band Gold Blood) appears on No Apocalypse.
Louis Pasteur said “Chance favours only the prepared mind”. In creating the record Brassica adopted this ‘prepared-minded’ approach. As he tells it…
“This means I can generally go beyond the limits imposed by my education, social conditioning, etc. Rather than write with a theme or clear vision in mind, I work with semi-informed but broadly indiscriminate strokes, throwing ‘paint’ around, observing where it lands. This can take various forms.. giving an experimental piece to an MC or an electro beat to a cellist, trying to play an instrument I can’t play or I dare say, overcoming a lifelong fear by exploring my own voice and lyric-writing ability….. Then there’s a process of looking for patterns amongst the chaos, After a while words form sentences, sentences form paragraphs, paragraphs form chapters of a story and eventually you end up with something more profound than if you’d planned the journey outright.”
Man is Deaf follows standout EPs ‘Hayat Zor’ and ‘Temple Fortune’ for Civil and much coveted 12″s for innovative underground labels including Andy Blake’s Dissident, Tartaruga and Cyber Dance. Brassica’s remixes include Bicep, Errors, Ford & Lopatin, Alison Moyet, Fan Death, James Yuill and Teeth. His excellent analog live show features much of the ageing analog equipment used to create the album, and with it he has performed alongside artists like I-F, Eygptian Lover, Doppereffekt and Factory Floor at many of the europe’s top venues including London’s Fabric and Berlin’s Renaté in addition to being showcased by Dazed and Confused and I-D Magazine.
Listening to Man is Deaf is an easy pleasure, the sequencing, the pacing, and the mixing make it punchy and nervy, there is movement in it’s fibre and it gleams with the thrill of creating such appealing musical moire.
“Nature isn’t mute… Man is Deaf”. (Terence McKenna, Opening the Doors of Creativity).
Other Places to Buy
Man is Deaf
- Juno Download
- Digital Tunes
- Track it Down
- What People Play
- Google Music
- Wasabeat (JP)
- Amoeba (USA)