Seed to Sun
n a year of disappointments among solid, respected independent (whatever that means) artists perhaps Boom Bip is the worst disappointment of them all. Producing the music for the vastly unheralded (apart from some of the finest independent web publications on the net) Circle, with vocal accompaniment provided by Dose One, Boom Bip appeared on the radar screens of undie hip hop fans everywhere. The production on the album was extremely idiosyncratic, complementing Dose One’s interior monologues and crazed ramblings deftly. It was perhaps the varied and schizophrenic tracks that complemented the poetic wordplay of Dose One that vaulted Boom Bip into a genre all his own- undefinable, but with clear precedents.
On Seed to Sun, Boom Bip goes solo, with only occasional MC assistance. He enlists the help of Dose One, Buck65, and Nacky Koma on separate tracks to good effect- these tracks tend to be the highlights of the album, especially the Dose One collaboration. The failing of this record, however, is best seen in the last track. “Last Walk Around Mirror Lake” presumably refers to the beautiful and secluded lake at the Ohio State University, where many a quiet couple have had midnight conversations beneath a shroud of trees. It contains a yearning fuzzy electricified guitar mixed with a looping acoustic melody. The fuzz is extinguished midway through the song to allow the clarity of the acoustic guitar to shine through. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful final moment on the record which points towards Boom Bip’s unwillingness to be pigeonholed by any label. It, however, suffers from what a large portion of the album suffers- lack of variance. The main melody is a beautiful one, surely, but it is the only one present on the track and, after five minutes, loses the interest of the listener. The slight production trick of bringing the guitar into focus adds some diversity to the sound of the song, but not enough to make much of a difference. Herein lies the main problem with instrumental hip-hop. Often times the large degree of repetition is a hindrance, rather than a helpful element.
It is obvious that anyone with the gumption to create an instrumental hip hop record believes very strongly in their talent to create sounds that are traditionally paired with lyrics and have them stand strongly on their own. Boom Bip, on this particular record, simply fails to hold the attention of the listener, more often than not. And this is not to say that this is a bad record, because it isn’t. It’s certainly a competent one filled with interesting sounds and moods. It is simply that, however: competent. What we’ve come to expect from his major breakthrough record is extraordinary. The burden of talent is upon him and when it’s merely interesting, it’s a disappointment.