Boom Bip Blue Eyed In The Red Room

[Lex; 2005]

Styles: instrumental hip-hop, glitch-rock, ambient electronic
Others: cLOUDDEAD, DJ Spooky, Four Tet, DJ Krush

The first time I heard of Bryan Hollon, also known as Boom Bip, was when I saw him on a triple bill with Buck 65 and Sage Francis in Scotland. He had a couple helpers with him on stage that night, so unable to clearly make out his introduction as I got Sage's autograph, I assumed Boom Bip was a band. His set did nothing to dissuade this notion, following Buck's intelligent art-hop and Sage's rage with a lyric-less progressive rock mix of electronics and analogue sonics in the same vein as Mogwai and Oceansize. I was intrigued and eager to hear more. Yet when I strolled by the nearest record store, all I could find was the unique, mostly instrumental hip-hop of Seed To Sun and the abstract stream-of-consciousness Dose One joint album Circle. Nowhere could I find anything online or otherwise that even resembled his live performance. But with this release, I'm getting warmer. Scattering convention to the wind, as usual, Blue Eyed In The Red Room is like nothing he's officially released so far, with the exception of the synth lead on "The Move" -- but while it sounds the most Bip-ish in the context of the slower breaks track, it would have been out of place elsewhere. Unlike his live set or his previous works, this entire album is swimming in swaying, understated guitars that rarely stay surfaced long enough to take centre stage, with the exceptions of opening track "Cimple," the almost neo-psychedelic "Eyelashings," and the heavily acoustic "One Eye." There are no real loops to speak of; instead Hollon emphasizes organic and analogue sounds, which is also demonstrated by the trading of former guests Dose One and Buck 65 for Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys and singer/songwriter Nina Nastasia this time around. Nina's guest shot is especially striking, ending the album with the feeling of "I don't believe in the power of love," and I'm fine with that. In short, Blue Eyed inarguably sets Hollon as one of the finest artists in electronica today, and it would be a shame if you were to miss out on this release.

1. Cimple
2. The Move
3. Do's And Don't's feat. Gruff Rhys
4. Girl Toy
5. Dumb Day
6. Eyelashings
7. Soft And Open
8. One Eye Round The Warm Corner
9. Aplomb
10. The Matter (Of Our Discussion) feat. Nina Nastasia