Blank Banshee 0: Your soundtrack for psychedelic drugs, or how to have the best 30 minutes of your life
If you like Toro Y Moi’s chillwave vibes and the pumped-up psychedelics running through Tame Impala’s newest album Currents, you should wind down your summer with Blank Banshee’s 2012 album, Blank Banshee 0.
While there’s very little lit on this Vancouver artist aside from this sparse Swide interview, you can probably tell he’s a big fan of summer and the beach.
My friend Connor first introduced me to this album years and years ago, and since then, it’s become one of my all-time favorites.
Blank Banshee’s style combines the wavy, ethereal elements of seapunk with the synths and sampling associated with chillwave, creating the perfect psychedelic soundtrack. The music videos for songs like “Teen Pregnancy” and “Ammonia Clouds” feature suggestive strips of paper hitting tongues, accompanied by trippy visuals. Regardless of your position on the issue, you’re sure to love this medley of short but warpy songs that comprise an album less than 30 minutes long.
The kicker? The entire album sounds like one amazing song. Set it on shuffle, and it would still coherently and effortlessly transition from one psychedelic track to the next.
My favorites: Ammonia Clouds, Dreamcast, Teen Pregnancy
“B:/ Start Up” slowly eases you into your (musical) trip. Your vision will just begin to warp as you realize, wait, this is just the Windows start up theme set to a beat.
The steady seapunk buildup continues with “Wavestep”, climaxing gently at the one minute mark. The seapunk subculture, characterized by an obsession with the sea, was made popular by the internet, and has produced music trends, but also fashion and design influences.
The Chicago Reader’s Miles Raymer described it as a mixture of genres such as house and pop, chopped and mixed up, inspiring artists like Grimes and Azealia Banks.
“Bathsalts” throws you right into the middle of a heavy moombahton beat that’s catchy but also a bit psychotic, an obvious allusion to the infamous drug.
“Ammonia Clouds” conveys the best of nature by seamlessly combining the futuristic twangs of an electric guitar with the looping and simple melodies of chillwave. The track incorporates familiar sounds, such as the buzz of insects and a gentle breeze blowing. It gets you tearing up at the thirty second mark without a single lyric, subtly climbs at 1:55, and leaves you I pure ecstasies in those final 20 seconds, pun intended.
Chillwave producers like Toro Y Moi subtly combine 80’s retro with electro pop, set against a summery, ocean-esque beat.
The swingy, electrojazz track “Venus Death Trap” feels like musical waves rolling in from every direction, whereas “Hyper Object” boasts a psychedelically funky record scratching, building towards the end.
Thoreau would be so proud of “Photosynthesis”, a heavenly song that returns you to the roots of nature. Bask in the harmony, bird calls and synthetic baby voices, and let the emotion swell inside of you.
“Deep Space” will narrate the most interesting walk of your life. Leave the house and you’ll suddenly be walking around in outer space. Find a swing set and trip balls as you rock to the deep wub wub wub.
Settle back with some warpy gifs when “Dreamcast” comes on, layered deep. When it hits the 0:45 mark, though, don’t fight the urge to dance.
“Cyber Zodiac” will transport you to a spiritual, pixelated Otherworld as ceremonial drums signal the presence of a higher Being.
The lyrics of “Teen Pregnancy” will get you hyperventilating as they protest, it was just a little mistake, I’m just a kid in a voice that continually gets deeper and more ominous. The beat will pick up, and so too will your heartbeat, leaving you in swirling doubt as the lyrics echo through your eardrums.
In “Purity Boys”, we start to hear more significant vocals, though it’s a melty voice that’s kind of all over the place. This song and others such as “Dreamcast” feature vaporwave influences, in the layered and pitched elements that are also utilized by artists like Skylar Spence.
“Visualization” is the hypnotic track meant to bring you down from your inevitably paranoia. What sounds like the voice of a yoga-certified therapist against a futuristic orchestra will bring your mind to peace and elicit calm images and tranquilizing emotions. This epic distortion of reality is a genius way to structure a song.
You and your tripping buddies will cry and hug each other when “World Vision” comes on, as you realize that we have to protect the earth we live on. End the trip on a positive note with a peaceful song that will bring everyone together.
“B:/ Shut down/Depression” is a short, wistful tune that reminds me a bit of the Pocahontas theme.
Since releasing his first album in 2012, Blank Banshee has also put out Blank Banshee 1, and it’s rumored that there’s even a Blank Banshee 2 in the works.
You can buy the entire album here for $1.