Desert Sessions is no exception. But even at its strangest, the record has a mysterious allure. " /> L.A. Record

DELROY EDWARDS AND DEAN BLUNT: DESERT SESSIONS

October 15th, 2018 | Album reviews

DELROY EDWARDS & DEAN BLUNT
Desert Sessions
L.A. Club Resource

Delroy Edwards and Dean Blunt both defy expectation. Edwards started with raw techno and house in the early 2010s and journeyed toward dark and damaged synth-wave, while Blunt has zig-zagged from the experimental electronics of his Hype Williams project (with Inga Copeland) to twisted guitar pop under his own name to the meta-rap of Babyfather. On Desert Sessions, the two artists unite for Edwards’ own L.A. Club Resource label to produce a sound that is as confusing as it is captivating. Recorded in L.A. during early 2017, Desert Sessions has a strong sonic resemblance to Edwards’ recent Rio Grande and Aftershock, conjuring up the same creepy atmosphere and production qualities seemingly ripped from a warped VHS. And like those two releases, Desert Sessions moves frantically through 19 rough and raw synthesizer sketches, rather than developing long-form musical ideas. While Edwards’ presence is front and center, Blunt’s contributions are less obvious. For one, Desert Sessions is entirely instrumental, leaving Blunt’s distinctive voice out of the mix. But there are certain songs that sound how one might imagine Blunt jamming in Edwards’ studio. The plaintive guitar and vocal pads of “Audio Track 08” (the songs are given numbers rather than names) are more foreboding than creepy, in a way that recalls Babyfather’s “BFF,” while the ghostly melodies and odd rhythms of “Audio Track 04” work in a similar style. Beneath the lo-fi murk of Desert Sessions there are moments of beauty—”Audio Track 06” and “Audio Track 18” for example—but most of the record sees Edwards and Blunt exploring weirder territory. Just listen to track 12’s stumbling drunk drums, or track 13, which sounds like someone taking a keyboard lesson in an a haunted house. Dean Blunt and Delroy Edwards have never been about making things easy on the audience, and Desert Sessions is no exception. But even at its strangest, the record has a mysterious allure.

—Joe Rihn