Boomkat Product Review:
This dense production comes to us from the unlikeliest of sources. Blacksand is the collaborative work of Nick Franglen (one half of lemon jelly) and charlie casey. Their sound embodies a world as far removed from the commercial environs of their previous work as you could imagine, instead opting for an hour long exploration of drones, found sounds, layered guitars, electronics and distortion pedals. This is the kind of music you could imagine being released by Southern Lord, Important or Type, in turn bringing to mind the work of James Blackshaw, Xela, Slowdive, Machinefabriek, Angelo Badalamenti, Earth and even Neil Young's seminal soundtrack for "Dead Man". The opening piece "Probe" extends to almost 25 minutes of shimmering strums that slowly evolve and unravel, eventually almost completely decomposing to the hum of machinery and process. Just as you think the whole thing couldn't get any more absorbing, layers start building back in, with a guitar strum reminiscent of Robin Guthrie's finest work coming in to edge you towards a much more ethereal destination. It's supremely confident, majestic material that will leave you breathless by the time the music slowly fades out 25 minutes in. "U1195" is next, and is much more submerged, exploring a more narcotic configuration of similar source material. The electronics and acoustics here are filtered and mangled through dense layers of squashed processes, at times bringing to mind the maverick Man vs Machine deconstructions of the SUNN 0))) / Pita collaborative project KTL. The darkness and immersive nature of the production here is what lends this material so much weight, constantly contrasting rays of light with dark, all encompassing textures. The album closes with the 20 minute "Abyss", an extended Rāga that takes in layered drones and an array of barely perceptible acoustic changes that imbue the track with widescreen proportions, despite the saturated palette. It sounds like a more heavily layered, slide-guitar-free variation on Ry Cooder's seminal "Paris Texas", coupled with Jack Rose's "Raag Manifestations", and with backing textures supplied by Stars Of The Lid. With "Barn" Blacksand have created a towering, hugely impressive debut that will leave a lasting impression on you long after it comes to a close. Very Highly Recommended - Essential Purchase.