Black Lung

The Grand Chessboard

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Using instrumental music as a means to advance complex (or even simple) political arguments is always kind of a sucker's game, and David Thrussell (aka Black Lung) seems to understand that. That's why he takes up all of the space in the liner notes with excerpts from Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. He does not seem to be quoting these passages approvingly, though, since the music is all instrumental it's not entirely possible to say, with certainty, what his message is. The music itself is gratefully (and necessarily) free of political content, and consists entirely of gritty but not really forbidding beat-based electronica; in fact, Grand Chessboard departs pretty dramatically from Thrussell's earlier work under the Black Lung name, and even more so from his more rock-oriented music as a member of Snog. The sound is funky, sometimes even dub-oriented (as on the nicely crafted "Autocratic Zeit Shift") and occasionally almost Wagnerian (note the vocal samples on "Neither Dominion Nor Exclusion"). Other tracks, such as the relatively quiet "Dilemma of the One Alternative," are almost expansive in their sonic textures. Recommended to all adventurous fans of electronic music, regardless of their opinions of former members of the Nixon administration.