Boomkat Product Review:
Witnessing the birth of a remarkable new artist, ‘Armour’ is Blackhaine's startling 2020 debut of drill blooz, cranky industrialism and grime-jazz, produced and released by his close spar Rainy Miller on Fixed Abode
Forging a singular conception of bruised North West soul music, ‘Armour’ first dropped from the skies like a Pennine weather front while everyone was infinitely scrolling thru the 2020 lockdown. It’s the first testament to Blackhaine’s skills as a dare-to-differ rapper and writer, priming the ground for a successive turn with artist Richie Culver on the ‘Did U Cum Yet / I’m Not Gonna Cum’ 12” and most recently his guest appearance on Space Afrika’s ‘Honest Labour’ album, with ‘B£E’ in 2021. And as clued up types will also know, his mic tekkers are just one of strand of a polymath practice that encompasses choreography for the likes of Flohio and Kayne West, and no doubt his incredible talent as a dancer, with a totally distinctive style recalling Ian Curtis doing butoh after a spice zoot.
Track to track the five cuts of ‘Armour’ lay out a roadmap of styles and reference points familiar to Blackhaine’s Preston upbringing and his growing bonds with Salford, where he’s developed a close relationship with its seminal venue, The White Hotel. Riding typically finessed production by Rainy Miller, and flanked by another striking new rapper, Iceboy Violet on its blue highlight ‘The Fall’; the EP cycles thru a play of emotions and hybrid styles that feel like a natural conclusion at the start of a strange new decade, variously articulating a working class weltanschauung and hyperlocality thru unmistakably accented bars between the hotel room blooz of ‘Blackpool’ and the bruxist grime of ‘Black Lights on the M6’, while flexing a remarkable stylistic range on the cinematic grime of ‘Death in June’ and eldritch ambient drawl of ‘Womb.’
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