In Ferneaux is the newest album from Blanck Mass, the electronic project from Benjamin John Power. Out today through Sacred Bones, In Ferneaux is a travelogue rooted in nostalgia.
“It is focused on the past,” says Power. “The present, whilst I was writing this record, to a certain degree, and the future, moving forward, using this as a tool of personal growth.”
In Ferneaux arrives nearly a year after the pandemic upended the lives of everyone on this planet. When lockdown began, Power, who resides in East Lothian, Scotland, threw himself into work.
“At the beginning of lockdown, I was still in the live kind of space,” says Power. “I actually started to do a series of streamed, live, improvised shows.”
Power produced singles by Kite and worked on soundtracks.
“I also have been scoring movies and TV stuff,” he says. “I’ve been doing production. I’ve done remixes.”
He assembled In Ferneaux from field recordings he had collected over the years.
“I’ve been collecting field recordings for a long time now,” Power says. “Like over a decade, but I never really knew what to do with them.”
Power picked material from his travels, resulting in a musical travelogue.
“There’s quite a lot of old stuff, and then there’s also some very new stuff on there,” he explains. “So, for example, from my last travel or visits to see family members in New Zealand. A lot of it is kind of like emotion driven. There’s a lot of abstraction going on there.”
For Power, making In Fearneaux was also a way to process grief and address isolation.
“Obviously, there’s a pain felt globally,” he says. “I lost a family member to COVID whilst I was going through a prolonged grieving period for a very close family member. I lost my father a couple years back in very shock circumstances. It was an accident, so I’ve been struggling with that and going through the grief process during that.”
“Not only is it a documentation of how I saw myself going through a grieving process,” Power adds. “But I’m using very physical experiences to convey that, in the way that feels best to me at the time, being in isolation.”
In Ferneaux is a two-song album.
“I’ve done a couple things like this before even, like The Great Confuso that I released was atriptych,” Power says.
“I wanted these all to be a seamless piece of time,” he adds. “Not to really differentiate between when things happen, but more to reflect an emotional journey that doesn’t necessarily have a set amount of time.”
On the current state of music, Power says: “I do feel for record labels who are releasing music now, especially a label such as Sacred Bones, whose roster is live musicians.”
“We’re still trying to figure out what that is,” Power says, about the future. “But surely music has a place with all of us still.”
Pick up a copy here