Speaking at the announcement of his Dogfood Music Group imprint back in July, Mykki Blanco outlined the groups iconoclastic MO by claiming he wanted to "disrupt the singular image of African American Music" while giving a platform to "underground artists who inspire their communities, contribute to Mykki's artistic vision, and transcend conventional cultural boundaries and constructs."
A month later the teaser video for the inaugural 'C-ORE' compilation arrived, which, even when held against Blanco's previous video canon, managed to bring a whole new meaning to the definition of terrifying as the Dogfood crew (Blanco, Yves Tumor, Psychoegyptian, Violence) traipsed the hellish planes of a drug induced freak out amid a cacophony of pulverizing EBM, glitch and trance. As far as inductions go, this was a bruising eleven minutes which left the viewer in no doubt that by 'disrupt', Dogfood would do so by their own means of brutal and uncompromising nonconformism. For Blanco, assuming the role of heretic torchbearer would come naturally.
Blanco's last mixtape, 'Gay Dog Food', was the punk-rappers most intense release to date, but on 'C-ORE' the beats crash heavier, the vocals bark harsher and the samples cut weirder. Opener 'This Is Going To Be Disgusting, Unholy & Pleasurable' sees LA 'post-rapper' Violence cast an eerie portent by running a cyborg vocal against ominous, frantic keys and desolate percussion which jitters nervously with reverb; the primality of 'C-ORE' condensed in the fact that it still comes across as one of the albums more accessible tracks. The producer reappears to do his best MC Ride impression on 'Saturn', while 'Stillborn Song' juxtaposes hyperactive gas-rainbow synths with revving guitars and teeth-grindingly raw lyricism ("premature birth, born into the dirt").
The most challenging moments of 'C-ORE' manifest under the watch of Yves Tumour's 'Histrionic I', 'Histrionic II' and 'Histrionic III Skunk Of The Earth' noise showcases. At first glance, the album cover art could be taken as a Cronenberg style chimera and, as the second instalment reaches its apocalyptic zenith with screams reigning out from the pneumatic white noise and buzzsaw drops, it's the type of death rattle you could imagine said creature making if it were somehow wound through an industrial meat grinder. Diametrically opposed are the bars of Psychoegyptian which, on a relative level, even sound catchy. 'LBCD' sneers and pulses with intent to the end ("little black crass dick!") and 'Lullaby', the album closer, hits on a nerve of abrasive maximalism that would make Travis Scott weep.
Blanco was initially reluctant to feature any of his own tracks but eventually acquiesced on the behest of the label. Jarring, Zimmer-like keys build a sense of dread on 'Coke Light Starlight' with Blanco asserting "they don't wanna see a man in a dress succeed" before spitting a tirade of invective in the sort of mocking cadence that makes you pity rather than rage against its targets. Also included is 'Paw', a gloopy two-minute interlude of noise built on an arpeggiated vocal sample which sounds like it was recorded in the depths of a cosmic ocean.
Like a lot of compilation albums, 'C-ORE' struggles with coherence, but still makes for a tantalising selection box and entry point to the DMG project. In a recent interview, Blanco alluded that the recorded material is still secondary to their forthcoming "over the top" live plans (hint: they involve chainsaws), and it will be fascinating to see how the group fuse in the context of a wider art narrative. Even if it hasn't always come off musically, Mykki Blanco has built his career as the outsider making a racket on the margins; the volume's about to get even louder now he has a pack to join him there.
Words: Graeme Campbell
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