It’s not that long ago that I first became aware of Blown Out. I had been sent an email with a promo of last year’s ‘Jet Black Hallucinations‘ album on it, and because it was the first release from Golden Mantra, the label run by Adam from Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs; I decided that it was probably worth a listen. As soon at I clicked play I was absolutely, erm, blown away by what I heard; and it has become a favourite of mine ever since. One of the things I like about this and other Blown Out albums, is its sheer raw and improvised feel. This is no overproduced and many times overdubbed nonsense: it’s visceral, and its directness hits you like a bulldozer.
So when I heard that Sheffield-based label Evil Hoodoo was bringing out a Blown Out live album, recorded at last year’s Supernormal Festival, I was in two minds about it, especially since the three tracks that make up the set were ones I already had; two from ‘Jet Black Hallucinations’ and one from the superb Oaken Palace Records release, ‘Planetary Engineering’. How could the band possibly top this?
I’ll admit at this stage that I’m yet to see Blown Out live, something I’m hoping to put right soon, so while I was expecting a degree of improvisation around the tracks that I know so well I was not quite prepared for how different they would be. It is like the band start out with the idea of which track to play, and the rhythm section of John-Michael Hedley (Bass) and Matt Baty (Drums) deliver a rock solid foundation around the original structure of the track; while Mike Vest (guitar) goes massively and thrillingly off piste creating effectively new tracks with his intuitive and highly creative approach; something that Hedley and Baty then feed off.
Kicking off the set ‘Jet Black Hallucinations’ sees the band getting well into the groove from the beginning with massive loops of noise and feedback piercing their way through the pounding drums and deep metronomic bass line. As with the original it is like being hit by a train, but this time an ultra fast express that you just didn’t see coming. Blown Out continue to crank up though the gears for around eleven minutes of thrilling improvisation before hitting a plateau and bringing the track home for the crowd in a dramatic and convincing manner, letting the listener down slowly into a vat of molten feedback.
‘Transcending Deep Infinity’ begins with a huge wall of feedback and fuzzed-up of sound before the band slowly begin to break through. This is a incredibly heavy and dense track which, as the title suggests, represents the overcoming of massive forces. Easily the slowest of the set this really gives the impression of the band cosmically wading through the eddys and gravitational waves of space…think of the biggest word that means ‘big’ that you can think if then make it bigger and you get the idea.
‘Transgalatic World Eater’ is my favourite Blown Out track, a massive behemoth of a number that feels like a huge riff rotating on a gyroscopic wheel of riffs, all of which power a massive interstellar riff machine consuming all that gets in its way. This is a really intense track that somehow seems even more mighty here than on the ‘Jet Black Hallucinations’ album as the band grab it by the photon drives and propel it into the next galaxy.
In one way this album is pretty much what you’d expect from Blown Out, huge monster tracks that grab you by the brain, melt your face, and the leave you in a wibbling wreck on the floor. What I perhaps wasn’t expecting is how different the tracks are to their studio counterparts to there extent that they sound like different numbers that explore divergent aspects of their core themes.
Supernormal 2015 Live Transmissions III is now available for pre-order from Evil Hoodoo here.