Boom Bip :: Blue Eyed in the Red Room (Lex, CD)

983 image 1(04.07.05) Bryan Hollon is a flower. Planted in the rough ground as a seed, he sprouted with From Seed to Sun, promising a colorful and vibrant explosion in the seasons ahead. Now, with Blue Eyed in the Red Room, released just as the first blush of spring is in the air, Hollon has bloomed. Gone are the heavy antecedents of hip-hop (smartly realized by him and Doseone on his first release, Circle), gone are the reliance on electronic composition that laced From Seed to Sun. Blue Eyed in the Red Room is filled with the organic sound of live instrumentation, all crafted and created by Hollon himself and layered into a series of engaging instrumental pieces.

Skating on the edge of the territory dubbed “folktronica” (an appellation which came to life following From Seed to Sun and Four Tet’s Rounds), the ten tracks of Boom Bip’s Blue Eyed in the Red Room are graceful compositions that evoke the colorful resurrection of spring. From the careful articulation of the acoustic guitar in “One Eye Round the Warm Corner” to the light rain-like chatter of percussion in “Soft & Open” to the hanging tones of “Girl Toy,” the vibrancy of the efforts here seem unconscious and effortless, belying the careful craft and extensive musical skills of Hollon (who played all the parts himself). It is easy to revel in the warm embrace and glowing arrangements of these songs. It may be too easy, in fact, to dismiss these pieces as sprightly fluff.

Blue Eyed in the Red Room closes with “The Matter (Of Our Discussion),” featuring Nina Nastasia against a dappled shower of auto-harp and strings. The light changes with this final melancholic moment, this fading of love. As our hearts quietly break with Nastasia’s words, it only becomes more clear how innocent and untroubled the rest of the record is, how Hollon has realized his seemingly facile expression of uncluttered joy. Boom Bip has left hip-hop, jazz, trip-hop and folktronica behind. Hollon continues to draw what he likes from his influences and use this grist to fuel his evolution. He has bloomed into something new and we’re all left scratching our heads, trying to redraw the borders of our classifications.

Blue Eyed in the Red Room is out now on Lex.

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