Blancmange, Commercial Break

I am always up for a new Blancmange album, and I have waited a while for this one. It is an album made with Benge and yet it still has a Blancmange feel. According to the Blancmange site:

“Commercial Break reflects on how the current situation has impacted and re-shaped our perception and experience of everyday life, hinting at new possibilities ahead.

Random field recordings collected for the album triggered many of the songs. Arthur lists them as follows . . .”

Blancmange
  • Two electric saws
  • Waves breaking on beach
  • People talking/moving (indistinct words)
  • A dishwasher
  • Ambient mic recording to pick up background noise
  • Close mic recording to collect the body noise of guitar
  • Bird song (-2 octaves)
  • Metal gate closing and metal gate locking
  • Beach with people and waves breaking
  • Old water pump

I have only listened to this album a couple of times so far, but there are some really interesting sounds being used here. Not just in terms of the field recordings, which are good, but also the overall sound of each of the songs was really interesting and quite unique at times.

As I’ve been a fan of Blancmange for most of my life now there is always the sense that the next album will still be good and that I really should like it. However, for the most part I do. Some albums more than others of course. But this one feels like a progression. A step forward.

After hearing this I decided to go back to a few Blancmange albums of recent years including the instrumental albums ‘Nil by Mouth’. These are all good, solid works. Thoughtful and not always entirely easy to listen to, a quality I applaud.

Blancmange, albeit only half of the original eighties duo, have grown up gracefully. The music has matured from the interesting pop of the first few albums into something that still retains some of the uniqueness that made them popular (at least popular with me), whilst having a more philosophical leaning to it.

I look forward to more of this journey in the future.

Blancmange: Nil By Mouth II

I actually like this series of albums by Blancmange. Although that is no surprise really as I enjoy almost everything that they do these days. Nil by mouth is an interesting idea though. Probably one that most old 1980’s bands wouldn’t necessarily toy with. But Blancmange are a bit more experimental than most, and seem very comfortable with putting out not one, but three albums of what is, in their own words, soundtrack music for unmade films.

I like the idea. I like the music. I have all three. I hope that they do more.

Mindset from Blancmange

I can’t exactly remember when I started liking Blancmange, but it was pretty early on. Probably when they first appeared on something like ‘Top of the Pops’. I’ve liked them ever since. When they made they’re somewhat unexpected comeback I was very happy indeed. Since then the output has been steady and I believe I’ve bough everything.

This latest release, ‘Mindset’, arrived this morning, although it was actually released yesterday. I listened to it yesterday, and it is a solid album. My initial impressions are it is very good and will probably grow on me.

I’m pleased that Blancmange is still going, and pleased to be able to support them wherever I can. In the current climate there are many artists who are suffering and those of us who love and appreciate music need to do whatever we can to support the people who help to give meaning to us. It’s important.

Blancmange’s latest album ‘Mindset’ in yellow vinyl

Waiting Room Volume 1

An album from Blancmange for the quarantine from Coronavirus

A new album from one of my favourite bands, “Blancmanage”. Waiting Room (Volume 1).

Apparently this is a collection of songs that didn’t fit anywhere else. I can understand how that happens. It makes sense to me. I bought it, mainly to support Blancmange in these strange and troubled times. I didn’t expect much, but, on the whole, these are pretty good tracks.

They certainly have a feel of not really fitting together, and, if this makes any sense at all, that sort of binds them together. In a ‘not really binding together’ way. Which I will admit makes no sense either.

I’ll listen to them again soon(-ish), and I may even write something more about this collection of songs. Who knows.


More about Blancmange

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Near Future’s new single

I bought this single last week, and I’ve been playing it a lot ever since. It’s actually really good. In fact, it’s a lot like the kind of music I think that Neil Arthur should be making with Blancmange. So it was a big strange really to be listening to it when it wasn’t by Blancmange.

I’m looking forward to Near Future making a full album, especially if it’s anything like the single it’ll be brilliant.

And new things coming from Mr Arthur then!

It’s good to hear that Neil Arthur is doing even more music. Hot on the heals of the latest Blancmange album ‘Commuter 23’ (I’m still listening to it and thinking about how I feel about it), he’s into a new musical exploit called ‘Near Future’. I just missed out on getting a signed CD of their first single, which was annoying. Never mind. I’ll have to wait for it to come out later in the month.

Listening to the new Blancmange Album, ‘Commuter 23’

It came out yesterday and I listened to the whole thing whilst I was out and about. I think that this is an album that is going to need a lot more listening. A lot more consideration. It isn’t just a bunch of electronic pop songs. There’s some deep stuff in there that requires careful and diligent listening, not just consuming.

It’s difficult to find time to do that kind of listening, but, as I’ve been a fan of Blancmanage for a very long time now, it’ll be worth it I’m sure. So when I’ve done that. I’ll let you know what I really think.