Blackhaine - And Salford Falls Apart

  • Dark and lyrical vignettes from North West England.
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  • Fresh off the acclaim for his choreography for Kanye West's Donda events and Flohio's "Unveiled video, multidisciplinary artist Blackhaine returns with a dark, twisted release that reaffirms his message on poverty and inequality in Northern Britain. Born in Preston, the 26-year-old Lancastrian producer and rapper takes realist urban storytelling to an intense place, one stunted by late nights, long shifts and substance abuse. His stage name Blackhaine combines the self-destructive "blackness" of Northern deprivation with a reference to the cyclical nature of poverty and violence swiped from French director Mathieu Kassovitz's line "La haine attire la haine" ("hatred breeds hatred"). But forget those broad cultural influences for a second—the Salford resident's latest EP is firmly rooted in his own experiences of Northern estate life. His latest release revisits the gloom of last year's Armour EP, a dark take on UK drill shaped by drug use and written during long security shifts at train stations across the North West. The new record's lyrical content appears more outward-facing. The title track asks "What's the price of England now? / With Salford falling apart," ruminating on the steady gentrification of the Greater Manchester area and the slow rotting of its more isolated suburbs. Against a backdrop of white noise, Blackhaine screams "Tryna pull you back together," his cries reeking of desperation. The EP's haunting, immersive soundscapes reflect Heyes' intense creative process. Last year, he told Dazed, "The way I work is all about sinking into dark, almost involuntary environments." This vision is typified by the discordant and jarring ambience of tracks like "Saddleworth," where Blackhaine spits harsh lines like "I was out here up north / They don't give a fuck there." (The track's video reinforces the bleakness of his tales of people slipping through the pavement cracks of Salford, Preston and Saddleworth.) And Salford Falls Apart is a challenging listen at times—its soundscapes are raw and dissonant, its lyrical content sombre. But amidst the Lancastrian smog, the EP's hazy strands are tied together by crunchy drum patterns that merge hip-hop, drill, ambient and electro influences, offering the perfect, downcast platform Heyes' fierce vocals. Haunting and visceral, the EP screams anger at a society that's failing its people.
  • Tracklist
      01. Saddleworth 02. Hotel 03. And Salford Falls Apart 04. Throat 05. Let Me Know