Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Joe Hall is Blanko Basnet

Musician Joe Hall
Joe Hall, the guitarist for the Durham, NC based rock band Hammer No More the Fingers, has released an album under the name Blanko Basnet.  Hall wrote and composed all of the lyrics and music for the album and acts as bandleader.  My initial response to Blanko Basnet was a positive one.  It is more atmospheric than his work with HNMTF, somewhat reminiscent of the band Porcupine Tree if anyone remembers them.  It would go well with a cup of mushroom tea.

The album consists of 11 different tracks, but sounds more like one complete whole – a psychedelic symphony – with the different songs serving as sections or movements within the full piece. Hall uses his vocals to great effect – not just to sing or express the lyrics, but as a musical instrument on equal footing with the rhythm, melody and percussion instruments that it intersects with.  The music shifts and fluctuates throughout, but the timbre of Hall’s voice remains a constant, creating a dichotomy between change and permanence. 
Blakno Basnet album cover

One of my favorite moments on the album comes on track five Father, where it feels like Hall has temporarily passed on the baton to a band of robots that takes everything over for a few moments, before relinquishing their grasp on the music.  

I’m pleased to see Joe Hall’s artistic vision take front and center with Blanko Basnet, and hope that it will allow him to pursue a more prominent role in Hammer, and/or inspire him to continue down this creative path in his solo career.  Below is a video for the song Layabout.

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