Last year, Dean Blunt (of the sadly short-lived but brilliantly trickily named London duo Hype Williams) released his first solo LP, The Narcissist II. It was a beautifully dramatic and deep re-imagining of trip hop and baroque pop as lo-fi cut and paste experiments.
As gorgeous as it was The Narcissist II went a bit unheralded in part because as an LP it remains a harrowing listen, interspersed with scenes from an urban love story falling apart. Where 90’s rap albums had ultra-violent, but rather goofy sketches to lighten the mood, Blunt takes an ultra-realistic very candid approach and intersplices the tracks with at times tender, at times totally brutal conversations and arguements between a couple on the brink of tragedy, the kind of stuff you hear through apartment walls in the ghetto, the kind of stuff you’d hear if Blue Valentine was set in the projects.
As complicated and experimental as it may sound, Dean Blunt crafts exquistely listenable pop music as a Lynchian hip-hop soap opera. Fitting, considering in the last few years, Blunt has also staged plays and art gallery performance pieces and shows.
Later this spring, Dean Blunt is set to release the follow-up to The Narcissist II, The Redeemer. The first track released from the album, “PAPI” is a beautifully heartbroken/heartbreaking slice of trippy soul with a Pink Floyd sample that’s reminiscent of Barry Adamson, but it’s own thing altogether. If the sound and title are any indication, it could be a kind of redemptive sequel to the tragedy of The Narcissist.
Sequel or not, it’s a damn fine cut from a truly intriguing artist.