Hip-hop as full-on, break-your-skull assault; that’s what B L A C K I E (all caps, w/spaces) is all about, at least sonically speaking. The one-man show behind the hoodie, Michael Lacour, spits rhymes over beats he’s cobbled together from Cat Stevens and Abba samples, random TV noise, and trip-hammer blastbeats. Lacour himself stalks around the floor of whatever venue he’s in, whether it’s a muddy pit outside by the street or a cavernous club with a gigantic sound system, pouring out lyrics about alienation, suicide, and white-boy poseurs from the suburbs, all the while looking like he’s all alone in his head, not even aware of an audience.
Half the time the crushing beats, punishing but slow like an Atari Teenage Riot 7″ that’s been melted in the sun on somebody’s dashboard, overwhelm the lyrics, true, but somehow it all fits together anyway and works, especially live. His Wilderness of North America full-length is pretty incredible on its own (although I wouldn’t recommend listening while you’re halfway to slitting your wrists, because it might help you along), but live it’s something totally freaking unique, like nobody else you’re going to see.
The overall sound in both cases comes closest to Justin Broadrick & Alec Empire’s Curse of the Golden Vampire, but there’s also a Dälek kind of thing going on, and a hint of Company Flow, a little Massive Attack, and yeah, a deeply-buried thread leading back to DJ Screw, too. It’s heavy, it’s dark, it’s noisy, and it’s messy but focused at the same time, like a mentally disturbed person coming at you out of the shadows of an alley, angry and confused but convinced you’re the person who’s been beaming signals into their head and out for revenge.
Caveat time: this shit ain’t for everyone. For some, B L A C K I E (the caps & spaces are necessary, by the way) will undoubtedly not do much more than cause a great big fucking migraine that tunnels through the front part of your skull. And that’s okay, because it narrows the field to those who can really, truly grasp at least a bit of what Lacour’s doing. The rest can go listen to Kanye and have fun.
Sadly, there’re only a few B L A C K I E releases in existence at this point, and they’re not all that easy to find. As far as I’m aware, Lacour’s self-released Wilderness album is only available through him, and his cassette-only Death Tape ’05 on Heavy Leather Records is out-of-print. He’s got an online-only EP available, though, Dope and Doper, and apparently there’s a split release due out on Dull Knife Recs with Cop Warmth, an anarchic Pasadena noise-punk crew Lacour has some kind of connection with. Grab a copy if you can.
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