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Boom Bip
Blue Eyed in the Red Room


oom Bipís come a long way from his roots as experimental hip-hop cohort with Anticon rapper Doseone. Their collaboration, Circle, helped jump-start both artistís careers out of the Queen City and onto the international stage, garnering praise from publications such as The Wire and The New York Times. For whatever reason, since the two amicably split to pursue other projects, both have gravitated towards rock-oriented sounds, constantly outrunning the tag of hip-hop that never really described their early experiments in any case.

Here Boom Bip further refines the sound set out on 2002ís underwhelming Seed To Sun. For those looking for the easy answer, itís just as underwhelming as that release, if not more so. This installment in Bipís discography sees the producer getting even safer than the relatively tame work of his preceding Lex album.

Perhaps itís the insidious effect that hip-hop had on Bip during his youth. While one canít help but admire the elements that make up the tracks on both releases (each record sounds amazing), they rarely add up to much more than trip-hop lite examples of a hip-hop producer unsure of what to do with himself once he gets all of his material ready to throw in Fruity Loops.

Itís one of the best examples of loop-based music that youíll hear. Hell, a song like ďGirl ToyĒ should be the demo track for the program, but a demoís a demoóit ultimately is hemmed in by the structure that loops enforce, making the end product sound simple no matter the elements.

There are tracks of note: ďDo's and Don't's,Ē sees Bip teaming up with Gruff Rhys which builds to a satisfying climax and outro, while ďOne Eye Round The Warm CornerĒ actually elicits some emotion with its plucked guitar and slowly building electronic clouds of sound. But itís only the final track, his collaboration with Nina Nastasia entitled ďThe Matter (Of Our Discussion)Ē thatís worth saving from this collection. Nastasia brings a human element to the proceedings that Rhys mechanical delivery lacks, adding warmth to the already amorphous production that Bip lays below her voice.

Much like the Anticon member Alias, Boom Bip suffers from a strange form of amnesia about the music that they grew up with. Both seem to forget, at times, that what made their initial releases so interesting was the addition of the human voice. While thereís something to be said for carving out new narratives within the genre (and creating new genres altogether), when both include the few vocal tracks on their recent, mostly instrumental, releases it becomes apparent that this itís the missing link to making this material sound vital. Itíll be interesting to see where he goes from here. But until then, Blue Eyed in the Red Room is one to skip.

Reviewed by: Charles Merwin

Reviewed on: 2005-02-10

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Posted 02/15/2005 - 04:37:05 PM by scooper:
 wow. the fact that this lovely if flawed album rates just a half-step above *lindsay lohan's* exercise in dogshit throws the credibility of this reviewer into serious doubt for me.
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