Bryan Hollon used to make hip hop records. Twisted, avant noise terrorist hip hop, but hip hop records nonetheless. In fact his fine debut solo LP ‘Seed To The Sun’ did really rather well. Such feats led to John Peel calling him “a modern day Captain Beefheart” as well as more formatively, remix work with the likes of Boards of Canada, Four Tet and Mogwai. Throwing away his sampler, Boom Bip (for this is he) decided to make an organic record whereby he played everything with ‘98% live instrumentation’.
The upshot of which, is that ‘Blue Eyed In The Red Room’, a noble, high-headed intelligent record, holds more in common with his aforementioned mix-mates than his hip hop roots. Some of the twists and turns it takes are definitely towards the indie and avant-garde. Album opener ‘Cimple’ folds gracefully out of scattershot beats and soothing strings, while ‘The Move’ adds a harder edge yet manages to sound like a ‘Disintegration’ era Cure song pulled to pieces and put back together by Autechre.
Gruff Rhys chimes in on ‘Do’s & Don’ts’ offering a layered, eerie mantra (in Welsh as always) over clipped percussion and deep resonating bass which disappears into nowhere before resurging into the foreground awash with metallic keyboards.
The music box lullaby simplicity of ‘Dumb Day’ is a gentle wonder, while the labyrinthine ‘Eyelashings’ moves from uplifting tech muse to math logic marvel and back over the course of 6 minutes. ‘Aplomb’ builds until its shredded synths, misfiring sounds and clattering drums implode with chaotic glee.
The pop-est moment is held until the end, with *Nina Nastasia *offering vocals on one of those classic quasi-ambient tunes which is really rather lovely, and as the album ends, we can mong out like it’s 1997 again.
…so very little to do with hip hop to be honest, but break beat’s loss is the world of electro's gain. A highly recommended LP.
8Gareth Dobson's Score