Then years ago Sebastian Blanck co-founded the aggressively experimental noise outfit Black Dice, along with brothers Eric and Bjorn Copeland and Hisham Bharoocha. Blanck and Bharoocha moved on: Hisham once a member of Lightning Bolt, later launching Soft Circle among many other resume credits; Blanck, meanwhile, spent the next decade focusing on visual art, rather successfully. His return to music’s marked by the forthcoming Alibi Coast LP, with a sound far afield from any of the aforementioned avant artists: it’s practically easy listening in comparison. Though that’s not a slight — Blanck’s voice and folk-inflected arrangements reflect the emotional hardship he experienced in ’07 with the passing of his brother in a way that’s comforting, earnest, without a hint of sap. (Black Dice are sap-drainers.) His album features co-production from fellow multi-tasker Jorge Elbrecht (of Violens, and of Lansing-Dreiden, and of directing this Class Actress video), vocal cameos from Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), and will be released on Rare Book Room Records, the imprint of Nicholas Vernhes (who’s logged production and engineering time with Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Deerhunter, Spoon, etc.). His gorgeous, green-screened debut video, created by Ben Syverson for “I Blame Baltimore,” is fittingly high-concept visually — rocket ships, cameras, and escape pods underscoring its refrain: “There’s no lights on the road, without you.” Sebastian traded his paintings for Syverson’s work on it, as he did much of the talent assembled to create his debut LP. This is worth a watch:
Sebastian writes about the video:
I was talking with Isca about what film makers and photographers friends f ours might be willing to help make a video for one of my songs. Our friend Ben Syverson (who is a Programmer and Photographer) came up as an option because he created a green screen program used by Battlestar Gallactica and 24 and some other big shows and he was a fan of the songs. I thought we were going to do some thing simple (like me singing in front of a green screen and just plug in some backgrounds) but Ben had a much more ambitious idea. He sent me a script for this mini space oddysey set to “I Blame Baltimore” (his choice) and we started shooting a month or so later. I grew up in Baltimore and Ben lived there for sometime in his twenties. I offered Ben a painting as a trade like I did for many of the people who played or song on the album.
Ben and his girl friend Susan Dwyer came to stay with us at our place up state on Lake Oscawana where we shot a large portion of the video over four or five days (just three of us) with Isca making her appearance at the end.Ben then spent the next 9 months or so working on the effects shots. Making miniature models of the rocket and the escape pod and digitally making the parachutes and clouds at the end. When he finished the initial edit we realized it didn’t exactly work yet so Ben and Susan came to NYC (from Chicago) and shot a couple more scenes. The whole video was done for very little money because Ben was so committed and worked so hard on it. Favors from family members and friends also helped a great deal especially in terms of locations. Tom Zoufaly, a family friend who is a collector of old train cars, where we did a couple shots. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (Isca’s Dad) let us use his studio one day and his old camera collection as props.
Here’s an MP3 of Sebastian’s track with Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek:
Alibi Coast is out 6/22 via Rare Book Room Records.