'Black Sun' is the new retrofuturistic concept album from Kode9 and the Spaceape, where the world's population is covered in radiation from an unclassified radioactive accident. This is a dystopian world full of fear and oppression, bodily mutations spread due to the radiation, sexual relationships are banned, political upheaval, some people resist, many don't.
Spaceape starts proceedings with sinister intent, `Under a spell of a random feeling/Weak, agitated, momentary breathing'. Considering it's dark content, you would think the album was all murky tones, claustrophobic bass and jarring beats. You'd be right, but there is also an uptempo immediacy throughout the album covering a variety of styles typical of the mongrel spirit of British bass music.
There's no standout track, the album is uniformly good throughout. The best tracks are the most surprising ones, 'Hole in the sky', 'Otherman' and 'Kryon' may lack the zip and residual bass of most of the other tracks but offer glimpses of new futures born from the decay of old ones. There is an awkwardness and unpredictability throughout most of the album which is really interesting. The album sounds alien but completely human at the same time, a reflection of the narrative tension that exists in this decaying other-world. Both Kode9 and Spaceape have loosened up for the better, though the guest vocalist Cha-Cha was underused, or rather underexposed alongside Spaceape's dread-poetry and Kode9's apocalyptic beats.
'Black Sun' is a proper slow-burner, no pun intended, and it took a fair few listens for it to sink in and make sense. Kode9 and Spaceape have thrown another curveball with an accomplished but unpolished album, intensely enjoyable and deeply unsettling in equal measure.