US - Ohio - Full Moon 104 - 03/25/05
Blue-Eyed in the Red Room
This Cincinnati hip-hop artist is known for his beatboxing, concidered by many to be the best the business has known after Rhyzel and Doug E. Fresh. Coming from humble beginnings though, he began to play turntable while he was attending college in the 90s. He took a liking to experimental playing and was eventually
noticed by Lex records. In 2001 he collaborated with Anticon rapper Doseone, and remixed Four Tet and Warp Record's Jamie Liddell. He's also released a series of breaks records, entitled Doo-Doo Breaks. His debut album was called "Seed To Sun" and was released as part of a double-contract involving Lex and Warp.
The first sounds on the record are far from hip-hop. Here we have guitar, bass and synth. But then that warp style beat drops and you know exactly what's up on this record. "Cimple" is nothing short of a gleaming electro-pop song. What a great sound out of Boom Bip! More warped electro beats greet you in "The Move". A cute bell melody plays in this song atop a synth voice pad. A Richard D. type melody plays at about the minute mark, and the chord progression sounds almost Dntel-ish. While it has its reference points, it's not a ripoff. Having said that, it does seem as though this song suffers from needing more. Not to be obvious but what about Boom Bip's beatboxing and turntabling abilities?
In "Do's and Don'ts", Gruff Rhys, the singer from Super Furry Animals guests This song gets a bit into triphop territory, but that's not always bad. "Do's and Don'ts" is a damned fine pop song. "Girl Toy" sports a saw-wave arpeggio melody. The kind I can't help but love no matter who plays it. And the way the melody in this song is developed keeps your ears turned on. At about 2:30 a rhythm comes in that is the goddamned best rhythm I've ever heard. It also is subtly developed over a quick tempoed 60 bars or so. The programming on this album is ace. Instrumental electronic pop music can be a bit trying sometimes, but Boom Bip keeps it so engaging on this album.
The mid-section of the album begins with "Dumb Day". Out-of-tune processed acoustic guitar beats into another Dntel-ish chord progression. The song is long and drawn out, and doesn't seem to go anywhere, but I think Boom Bip is making a point here. If the title were anything different this song might be pretty
boring. The problem it can't avoid is that it doesn't stand alone very well, can't be taken out of the context of the album. A nice beat fades in at the end of the tune, which in effect solidifies the song. "Eyelashings" despenses with the pop and just experiments. Almost highlighting a low point on the album, the heavily delayed electric guitar solo saves this tune (in standard Boom Bip fashion of knowing exactly how to never let a song go sour). At 6:23, however, "Eyelashes" is definitely too long for what it does. Not a terrible song but a little less interesting than the other tunes thus far on the album. "Soft and Open" continues Blue Eyed in the Red Room's incredible samplework. And there is some very striking singing in this short song. It moves the album on nicely to "One Eye Round the Warm Corner", which begins with clear and highly mixed acoustic guitar. You can really hear the fingers on the fretboard. A little recorder flute comes in with the guitar. The recorder melody is eerie. A very peaceful, eerie tune. The double-low bass that enters towards the end of the song actually rattles everything.
We finish out with "Aplomb" and "The Matter". More "hip-hoppers" need to pick up a guitar. The album finishes out by rocking out. It works better than you might imagine. Nina Nastasia guests on "Ablomb".
Boom Bip has made an electronic/rock/pop album with no turntable or beatbox. And it's insanely good.
Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks