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Now Hear This, Vol. III

Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.

Blouse - "Into Black"

The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes—"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"—and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.

Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"

Beat Happening - "Black Candy"

Cosmetics - "Black Leather Gloves"

Nick Drake - "Black Eyed Dog"

Nina Simone - "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"

Pictureplane - "Black Nails"

The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"

Timber Timbre - "Black Water"

The Velvet Underground & Nico - "Black Angel's Death Song"

More Videos

V.18 No.43 | 10/22/2009
A murder of crows can’t out-creep Tech N9ne.

Wax Tracks

Tech N9ne

Tears of a clown

Rarely do face paint and hardcore rap seamlessly fit together, but for Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, it’s been his steez for the past two decades. The self-proclaimed “weirdo rapper” deals in fallen angels and other dark material that places him worlds apart from other MCs. It’s not all about bling, bitches or Bentleys—he rhymes like he’s narrating a horror film. Tech’s style murders the competition by combining wicked, tricky wordplay, melodic hooks and incredibly speedy rap. But the most impressive thing about Tech N9ne isn’t his music—it’s his work ethic.

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