Earlier this week, Ninja Tune's Lee Bannon self-released a surprise new EP, Thot eNhançer, under a new moniker: DedekindCut. It's an abbrasive, confrontational record, throwing the listener from disjointed breakcore to double jointed bass-heavy experimentalism via decayed, clanking ambient and scummy, abattoir minimalism. It's one of the most intense things we've heard all year.
In a feature we ran in July, we described Bannon as a creator of "difficult" music. By that we meant that his output defies the rigidity of generic conventions, preferring to roam and lurk in unexpected territories. Thot eNhançer does nothing to refute that notion. If art, as you could argue it is, is the expulsion of the Id and ego through the act of creation, then we've got to imagine that Bannon's interior life is a fascinatingly odd place. This is music as pure aural catharsis, primal and unnerving in its ability to disarm and disquiet. You can listen to the EP in its entirety below.
A day or so after its release, Bannon got in touch with to ask if we wanted to talk about the DEDEKIND cut and Thot eNhançer. Here's what went down.
THUMP: We talked about the importance of names the last time we spoke. Is there any significance to your new moniker or the title of the release?
Lee Bannon: There is a lot more to this new moniker that will surface in the future.
Can we talk a little about the Instagram post that came with the EP, as it were? I'm really intrigued by one point in particular. At one point you say: "My works the furthest thing from hip hop or r&b ,part of the shock value of me doing the music I do is because I'm black not creating quick disposable r&b hits with a 2year life span"
Why, then, do you think that people expect black artists to make R&B rather than drone or breakcore records? Is that something that stems from industry expectation or from a wider cultural point of view?
I honestly think it's an intellectual mindset where people aren't used to us (black artists) showcasing that in the form of music much now. Even now when we have invented most of the genres around, true acknowledgement of them all came when a white person made it popular, or "pop". So when we do its music that typically has 'street intelligence'. And that's the cap. But now we have people who aren't from the streets or have zero street knowledge using it as a platform to make music because it's "black music" and it's become not the norm for a black artist to push the boundaries in such odd places .So when they do its an anomaly and that it self becomes the focus instead of the music.
Was this tweet a subtle comment on Oheohtrix Point Never? If so, again, why do you think that an artist like Dan Lopatin — and I'm not expecting you to gun for him here — gets more critical attention than yourself?
I love 0PN and have have solid chats with him in the past. Those comments are more aimed at critics really. Dev Hynes and I had a long conversation about this and he made a good point, asking how do you review someone's art … It's weird right? Because they don't know what you where actually thinking when you made and YOU as the artist know exactly what you where doing and you did it.
The EP feels alot more combative than Pattern of Excel did — how conscious of an approach is that? To me at least it feels like a kind of battle cry, a defiant middle finger.
This project was definitely a middle finger, in many many different ways.
"(Further) with an Open Mouth" is the most intense thing I've heard all year. How important is the idea of intensity to you as an artist?
Intensity is a feeling that takes extra work to extract I think, especially in music. It's the one thing that can't be faked.
The 'Thot eNhançer' EP is out now. You can get it from Lee Bannon's Bandcamp page here.