Avant hip hop noises from Boom Bip, now signed to Warp's experimental urban imprint Lex.
Olli Siebelt 2002
Lurking in a haze somewhere between hip-hop and experimental funk, Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon) has been making a very particular kind of noise for a couple of years now. Having released a few excellent tracks on the notable Mush label, he's now taken a giant step forward and has signed on to Warp Recordsimprint Lex for an album that is as experimental and cutting edge as anything in Warp's back catalogue.
Streets ahead of his previous work, Seed To Sun sees Hollon dipping in and out of a prominent West coast/California psychedelic acid vibe that seems to permeate most of the tracks here. From the Beach Boys on muscle relaxants opener "Heads Must Roll", to "Third Sun" which sounds as if a Herbaliser record took heaps of acid and stayed out in the sun too long, there's a real "back to basics" approach to the production on this release.
Instead of following the crowd, Hollon spends a lot of time bathing in the analogue sounds of the 70s rather than the digitally sampled ones of today. Yes, laid back vibes abound, but there is much to sit up and take notice of.
Check out the superb "Mannequin Hand Trapdoor I Reminder" featuring Dose One, which rivals some of the best stuff coming out on labels like Mush, Anticon and Sound-Ink. "The Use Of Unacceptable Colours In Nature" is also a winner - taking the Boom Bip sound into what amounts to instrumental post-rock territory. When was the last time you heard a hip-hop record pull that off?
Hollon is one of those rare composers who can leap genres and styles in a single bound but never lose the artistic integrity of the overall project. Each one of the 13 tracks included here is as individual as it gets and all are excellent. Full marks to Boom Bip for an astonishingly complex and sublime release and for Lex for having the courage and taste not only to put it out, but to push the boundaries of hip-hop culture far beyond people's expectations.
There are onlya select few out there doing this kind of thing right now and with releases like this, we may finally be looking at the next real evolution in hip-hop. Watch this space.
"Bling-Bling"? Make that "Boom Bip".