Boom Bip - Blue Eyed In The Red Room [Lex Records - 2005]The fact that Boom Bip doesn’t fall into the hip-hop genre anymore, the music Bryan Hollon started with, isn’t news for a lot of this act’s followers. That this new album strays even more away from his roots consequently doesn’t come as a surprise either. The Cincinnati-born Hollon takes it a bit further even, by playing all instruments by himself.
Blue Eyed In The Red Room consists of acoustic instrumental pieces for the most part, best described as experimental pop. The live-approach pays rich rewards, since the album sounds very organic, natural and “real”. Hip-hop is out of the question, but that Hollon can handle electronic instruments as well is an obvious conclusion. It’s packed with experimenting between acoustic instruments and electronic fiddling and the exchange among the two, without losing the grip on the music and the mood. Still the music is closer to easy-listening pop music than this portrayal would imply. Like Boards Of Canada playing indie-rock.
From the to the guitar and piano stripped opener Cimple till the with Nina Nastasia’s voice decorated ending The Matter; Blue Eyed… is Hollon’s search for his own personal ultimate music. And that produces some very good songs. The processed drones in Do’s And Don’t’s are being melted together by the Super Furry Animal’s vocalist Gruff Rhys’ singing, while The Move and Girl Toy are more in the direction of a playful Autechre. But hypnotising soundscapes in Eyelashings threaten to lose the listener’s interest, and the childish melodies in Soft And Open lack the power Boards Of Canada do have. The acoustic played post-rock song One Eye Round The Warm Corner also fails to include the brilliancy characteristic of a classic album. I think Hollon realizes as well that his search isn’t ending here just yet.
Blue Eyed In The Red Room is a logical progression of Boom Bip’s musical evolvement. The ambient-pop tracks are mainly nice to the ear and are excellent background music. Still, I’d rather compliment this record with its brilliant musical sculpture with acoustic instrumentation on one side and electronic on the other. That is something I cannot do, because the album sounds too easy for that. Boom Bip hasn’t reached its end yet, but still that’s no reason to let this record pass unnoticed.Justin Faase