Album Review: MEGA by Blank Banshee

(Image courtesy of Blank Banshee.)

Tonight’s review will be somewhat lengthy.

Blank Banshee is an unknown electronic producer who has gained notoriety for the blending of visual art and sampling music in his beats. His most famous work has to be his debut in 2012, Blank Banshee 0, which is a clean and bubbly release with memorable VST samples, seamless and unique usage of vocal sampling from popular music, and a knack for crisp melodies under high compression.

“Ammonia Clouds” by Blank Banshee (2012), courtesy of his Bandcamp.

His final release would drop on 2013 proudly titled Blank Banshee 1,  which is the less celebrated of the two but boasts a more complex production and meatier percussion range. Since then, his absence has left a hungry wanting more, and with the soundscape of influences having come from Blank Banshee’s influence (STΛQQ ƟVERFLƟ, Cobalt Road, and KING QUARTZ just to name a few), it was doubtful how relevant Blank Banshee can still be in 2016.

Blank Banshee 1 by Blank Banshee, courtesy of his Bandcamp.

After a set of countdowns and mysterious album promotions, Blank Banshee is back to not give us a sequel to the duo-logy of his first works, but a new frame of thought with his album MEGA. In essence, it’s is an enjoyable release that echoes the familiarity and comfort of the first two releases, but there is noticeable high compression to the beats for they punch a lot harder than most would expect. We get the inclusion of actual vocals for the first time like on “Gunshots” and “Hungry Ghosts,” which make this very clear Blank Banshee won’t simply stand to be seen as just a zombie of his past.

“My Machine” by Blank Banshee (2016), courtesy of his Bandcamp.

Let’s take for instance the phasing of the male vocals on “My Machine” provided by Cormorant. The strange atonal mixing juxtaposed to the warmer, high-saturated sound is a progressive dichotomy that captures the ears. The “single” of the release “Frozen Flame” is a familiar throwback with a stranger progression that is aware of its allure and succeeds in taking the listener for a dazed trip.

Tracks like “Meteor Blade” and “Holograffiti” highlight the positive simplicity of beat-making while “Cerulean” drafts a need for orchestral and acoustic flourishes to embark more organic sounds to the warm synth production. The one complaint I will have with this release is the lack of climax and closure. While each track is unique and stands out, they feel more like collectives than pieces that segue to form a visual story.

For all the immense hype and doubt of this album’s release, and clocking in at a good half-hour of music, MEGA really does deliver as a relevant reminder of Blank Banshee’s production genius beyond the internet memes and funny-looking Lara Croft head.

Rating: ★★★½ (3.5/5)

Purchase and download MEGA by Blank Banshee at his local Bandcamp HERE.

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