Boom Bip From Left to Right EP

[Lex; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: hip-hop, ambient electronic, turntablism
Others: cLOUDDEAD, DJ Shadow, RJD2, Anticon

A lot of attention has been garnered over the past few years to the California hip-hop collective, known as Anticon. Whether digging their gig or not, one can’t argue that they are continually pushing the envelope forward by releasing many great projects every year. Although not quite an “official member” of the Anticon circle, Boom Bip (Bryan Hollon) could very well nestle himself right in between most of these artists with the type of work he is producing with some of them.  As you’ll see in the short span of this 12” EP, From Left to Right is a very nice little piece of hip-hop.

Contracting artists like Boards of Canada, Venetian Snares, and cLOUDDEAD, From Left to Right is a journey in atmospheric and moody hip-hop electronics. Three of the four tracks are remixes of the best titles off of Boom Bip’s 2002 release, Seed to Sun. As I’m sure you know of these other artists doing these remixes, you’ll almost be able to imagine what this music is going to sound like. Take cLOUDDEAD and Boards of Canada for example; their focus is, more times than not, heavier on vibe than on the drums. The same can also be said for From Left to Right. It’s immediately obvious, that while this is only a short EP, it is a collection of music that has been carefully crafted.    

The title track leads off as the only song that’s not a remix. It begins with echoing electronics that build into a crescendo of drumming pulsations and moody swagger. As all of Boom Bip’s tracks usually are, it’s a very well put together track with good timing and tight production. “Last Walk Around Mirror Lake” is a Boards of Canada remix of the Seed to Sun twelve-minute closer. Although only a quarter of its original length, this is a very beautiful and ethereal rendition; and quite possibly the warmest work I’ve heard from Boards of Canada. “The Unthinkable” shakes things up a bit with its cut-up beats and rearranged lyrics, making for a more “in-your-face” aesthetic than the others. However, following right behind is the last, and arguably the best, track by mood-hop pioneers themselves, cLOUDDEAD. “Closed Shoulders” gently washes over your ears with the quintessential sound of Odd Nosdam’s buzzing Anticon sound. It is visually so dreamlike, that you could imagine yourself gliding overhead while looking down on a peaceful world below you.

Although my opinions seem to constantly change about independent hip-hop, I find this EP to be quite refreshing. It’s short and to the point; but most importantly, it’s very well focused. I don’t think Hollon could’ve picked better artists to remix his songs here; and with the always-great artwork by ehquestionmark, this EP is certainly worth its weight in gold.

1. From Left to Right
2. Last Walk Around Mirror Lake (Boards of Canada Remix)
3. The Unthinkable ft. Buck 65 (Venetian Snares Remix)
4. Closed Shoulders (cLOUDDEAD remix)