Boomkat Product Review:
Soon to be everywhere, Salford’s Blackhaine butts with Hull based painter Richie Culver in a bracing meditation on the “masturbatory act of posting art on social media” - fans of owt from Throbbing Gristle to Croww to Mark Leckey should really check this.
Introducing one of the most interesting NW voices in a generation, ‘Did U Cum Yet / I’m Not Gonna Cum’ sees Tom Heyes aka Blackhaine unflinchingly extend and embody the themes of Richie Culver’s eponymous painting over two parts that expand the work into a film and this, its visceral soundtrack. In answer to Culver’s stark, large, white canvas with the phrase scrawled in freehand, Blackhaine’s response explores two narratives; the hollered monologue of a small town drug dealer realising his “life has no meaning,” and a more instinctive, durational side expressing Blackhaine’s unbridled id. They’re both set to throbbing and gutted electronics that feel like an echo of TG as much as William Bennett and Philip Best, had they grown up in Preston listening to rap and scowling at social media.
Since emerging only a year ago with a series of self-released YouTube vids demonstrating his dance skills as well as choreography for Flohio’s award-winning ‘Unveiled’ promo vid, and more recently an immersive installation at The White Hotel and contibutions to forthcoming work by Space Afrika (keep ‘em peeled) Blackhaine’s cuts here define just one aspect of an omnivorous oeuvre-in-the-making. Over footage assembled by Belgian/British filmmaker William Markarian-Martin, Blackhaine enunciates his tales in sawn-off syllables spat straight in the mind’s eye, depicting a brutalist reality with vivid insight and barbed humour that strikes to the bone.
The atonal attack of the first is a clear descendent of Consumer Electronics, yet less sneering and more seething, while the longer flip evokes a slow motion descent from the top of Preston’s boasted brutalist bus station, alternating between Heyes’ starker vocal presence, and his poetry regaled by text-to-speech app in a way that reveals the bristling bare bones and oblique edges of his style against its greyscale tonal backdrop.
Trust you’ll be hearing a lot more from Blackhaine in the coming months, years. In the meantime, dont miss this.