Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Blight are ostensibly a Noise outfit. They have two previous albums available: The Blight and Escalation both from 2016. The line-up is: Tim Glenn (drums), Jesse Whitney (modular synth) and Travis Bos (synths, effects, vocals).
The confused cacophony of Self removes any doubt as to what The Blight are about. Noise: an intellectual nightmare with continual spasms of madness. The confrontation begins immediately as drums smash away without meaning, guitars, bass and synths battle it out to nullify each other but combine into a turgid outpouring of insurmountable harshness. Mad incoherent screams which surface every so often in the oceanic dirge only to be crushed by the polluted and undirected environment. At times there is the emergence of a homogeneous meaning but this is swept away and destroyed: chaos triumphs order and growth. We are subjected to an inner turmoil which is desired above harmony which shall always remain as an aberrant state. Humanity follows and proceeds in a similar nature only with the level of foreground constant noise at a more heightened state as if the gathered collective exert a greater turmoil, a generated negative energy which keeps the mass in its absolute chaotic nature. Fissures erupt throughout the mass and pushes the momentum of its parts to meltdown: a final extended period of destruction like a virulent infection as it ravages the host organism. We experience these cataclysmic changes in the third piece titled Planet. Here the music takes on a more understated approach: the layers of sound build from the separate parts and suggest the processes of organs (the heart, the intake of nutrition, minimal neural impulses required to maintain functions). From the outset it is already apparent that there is an imbalance and as the piece forward these only become more disturbed, start becoming more conflicted and accelerate: a download spiral as individual processes overload and affect other parts of the body. This is the sound of the body becoming overwhelmed by the virus of humanity and the core functions used to regulate its continued survival being ruined more and more until the outer surface is stripped of life. Star is an abstract soundscape of digital pulses and fizzing, buzzing audio debris. The sounds of atomic forces working together creating at once a source of light and potential life but also the destructive power of unimaginable heat. An abstract Jazz workout replacing the unbridled outpouring of unadulterated noise, it centres itself on the fusion of disparate parts creating a conflagration of directed energies. There is a strong suggestion in this piece of a more unified and focused aim for The Blight and this causes a shift in the way that the listener perceives the album as a whole. Again this is a piece which builds and builds with the available space being gradually filled: the synths, drums, guitars and bass start separately from meagre beginnings to become like a tidal wave of impacts before being parred back to a minimal state as at the start of the piece. Now the journey ends at the final staging post, Galaxy is not a quiet and considered organised piece but a raging and almost hypnotic coagulation of forces and energies colliding through space: a constantly confused but evolving collection of matter which has an inner design. Through the swirling noise a guitar melody can only just be heard making sense of the vast mechanism and interplay of each part within a cosmic engine. Our minds cannot contemplate the scale this never-ending cycle even though we may understand its structure. And this is where the conscious human mind fails in its meditation – we are as nothing within this immense area which moves through space, we cannot change anything about except our own existence on what is only one planet amongst an infinity of planets.
This is a sonic journey from the inner reaches of the individual outward to the galaxy, from the smallest part through greater levels of scale. It is Hawkind as performed as an annihilation score by Skullflower but with a purpose that sees the music progress away from simply being noise. This is the strength of the album and imbues the music with value. From beginning to end, there is so much to hear every time the album is listened to: interactions between the different sounds for example. This provides any fan of the Noise with something of not only intensity but definite dimensionality such that this will become a classic amongst those who have a love of the chaotic.
The third release from US Noise purveyors The Blight has the qualities that will take them to greater prominence.