Throughout Hype Williams’ activity it was common to play with truth in favour of narrative. The music they created demanded it, an active exercise in questioning what is or isn’t true or, put another way, “if this is really how things are done”. Appropriation started with the name, continued into the music, all this was – and still is – irrelevant to the way they questioned sound art and performance in the 21st century. And they did so at the expense of wonderful songs. After the end, Dean Blunt continued with that philosophy, continues to create with a unique artificiality and question whether things are really like this and, on another level, “is this for real?” The strength is in the act of questioning and less in the answer (which is irrelevant). Indeed, what does the truth matter if we like what we hear? Questions also arise on his label, World Music. For example, why do the albums of Joanne Robertson, whose name became known thanks to collaborations with Dean, come across as unfinished objects, fruits of a moment? Or why do bar ialia, who started out on World Music (the mini-albums “Quarrel” and “Bedhead”) and will soon have an album on Matador, seem like sentimental indie successors to Hype Williams?
The British trio formed by Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi and Sam Fenton drank from the same source as Dean Blunt. Influenced or not, they categorically reject genre-bending (a bit like Robertson, it’s the voice that rules) and have as much of Felt (Blunt’s solo influence) as Radiohead’s “The Bends” phase. If we had to risk a description, saying they sound like Ride if Ride did slowcore might be appropriate. Because there’s something of shoegaze here, in that more pop formulation that could have been heroic and filled stadiums (never happened), with the tempo of those in no hurry to get anywhere. They do this by playing with memory, references, impossible to hear “Killer instinct” from bedhead without thinking of “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure. And just when we are waiting for the appropriation to be confirmed, the song ends. Or listen to “rage quit”, from the same album, without thinking of Blur’s “Coffee & TV”. All this happens very much to Hype Williams, in the territory of the guitars, of the powertrio imagery. With songs ending in the unexpected, avoiding consequence or solution. The questions remain. And the songs, most of them go straight to the playlist of favorites. AS