Dean Blunt - Stone Island | Track Review | By Volume

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Dean Blunt

Stone Island

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Author: on August 28, 2013

At some point during the twilight zone between the 22nd and 23rd of August 2013, reports of a new track from ethereal experimentalist Dean Blunt appeared online, followed swiftly by the rest of his new album. Reportedly put together in a Moscow hotel room, Stone Island was dropped on the Russian website Афиша  available for free download before surfacing on the more usual suspects, by way of Tiny Mix Tapes. The record comes in the wake of news that Blunt and long-time Hype Williams co-producer Inga Copeland are ‘no longer affiliated’; Hype Williams is suspected to be a relay project and the general assumption (nothing is certain with Blunt after all) is that the pair have moved on from it. Blunt has already released an album this year, following up his solo The Narcissist II with The Redeemer, what seemed to be an insight into his personal life, depicting each moment of decay as a relationship crumbled. On initial impressions, Stone Island could be an epilogue of sorts, in which our protagonist recovers from devastation to gain emotional independence once more. Blunt breaks free from his self-imposed chains over the course of the record, which features frequent collaborator Joanne Robertson on one track. The only other song not named after its tracklist number is the album’s namesake, and it’s a milestone moment for the release.

I’ll say it straight; I had a bit of a moment during “Stone Island”. A mere seventy-nine seconds in length, it’s hard to expect so much in such a short amount of time. In the first moment, exotic guitar licks conjure a cheesy tourism commercial for some Spanish beach, but before you even begin to settle into a comfort zone, the atmosphere is ruptured by screeching tires and sirens. A man croons in a way that channels all the R&B and boyband spirit the 90s can muster, and though his over-dramatisation is comic in its own right, it somehow hits surprisingly hard in its context. People shout, scream, and later cry before things hopelessly wind down. On listening, I didn’t witness the experience, I became the experience; my life flashed before my eyes, and not just my past – my future too. For those few seconds, the things I wanted to do – needed to do – had become clear to me.

It’s incredible how an artist so abstract and distant (to the point where as a fan you second guess it all and wonder if you’re being pranked) can create things so evocative. There’s a point past the musicality, a point where a song speaks to you directly, where the song becomes yours as much as it is the artist’s. It doesn’t matter how ‘honest’ the art is; it becomes an issue of how we interpret it, intentionally or not. “Stone Island” reaches that point, delivering it all without having to verbalise a thing.

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