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Dean Blunt’s New Tracks About Gun Crime Are Disturbingly Direct

The UK artist has copped a rep for obscuring truths but he gets raw on two tracks inspired by the UK’s gun crime police unit.

October 10, 2014

The tricky thing with Dean Blunt is not that he is slippery with facts, but that said slipperiness can sometimes overshadow his musical artifacts, which—ironically—are often born from facts that are all too uncomfortably real. Blunt's "Trident" and "Trident Pt 2" are two cuts that don't feature on his new album Black Metal, out November 3rd on Rough Trade, but provide some enlightening context. Trident is the name of the Metropolitan Police's controversial unit that was set up in 1998 to investigate gun crime in London's black communities—Trident's most infamous f-up being the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan in 2011, which sparked a series of riots across London. On "Trident Pt 2," which surfaced yesterday, a man—Rough Trade says it's Blunt but it doesn't sound like him—outlines a brief but pretty distressing history of violence between gangs in the London areas of Hackney and Tottenham that occurred in the late '90s and early '00s, incidents that led to the formation and development of Trident, which, incidentally, is no longer responsible for dealing with murders

The video for Blunt's "Trident," which popped up on his video channel a few days ago, features found video footage of a crime scene outside an east London club, with two young girls standing arm-in-arm in their winter coats relaying their eye-witness accounts to camera: "He head was bleeding and the rumor was he got shot in the head." It's chilling stuff, and that mood is heightened by Blunt's sung-spoken lyrics (it's definitely him this time) that slide across layers of haunting synths and strings: I know it's obvious/ Cos you stare so ominously. While nothing's spelled out, these two tracks raise a bunch of familiar but nevertheless sadly still so relevant questions about policing and race relations in the UK. He's copped a rep for obscuring truths, but Blunt's never been more direct than on this politically charged pair of tracks. 

Dean Blunt’s New Tracks About Gun Crime Are Disturbingly Direct