Blue Sky Black Death
Late Night Cinema


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
August 11th, 2008 | 104 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The BEST instrumental hip hop / trip hop album of 2008.

Instrumental hip-hop, a form of hip-hop that almost goes against the very basis of the genre (in essence, rhythmic poetry), makes the artist's job both harder and easier to create a timeless album in the realm of hip-hop. While the instrumental nature of the music allows for music much more melodic, it often completely leaves the hip-hop category without the correct beats, labeled better simply as electronica. Blue Sky Black Death's Late Night Cinema, the first album for the production duo to not feature any emcees throughout the album, strikes the balance between the necessary melodicism and hip-hop beats perfectly, making a stunning and enthralling album from start to finish.

With this balance, many will mark the album's primary influence as Endtroducing..., but besides both albums' incredible melodic composition, these albums have little in common. Beneath that veneer, Late Night Cinema breathes much more as a whole rather than a collection of samples – largely because many of the parts on the album were recorded live. Instead of a plunderphonic album, Blue Sky Black Death, comprised of producers Kingston and Young God, composed a true musical entity with violinists, vocalists, trumpeters, and keyboardists adding their contributions while still keeping it in the vein of hip-hop.

In terms of production, the album has that decidedly hip-hop feel, a groove completely different from neo-classical electronica, a realm that the album's melodic content takes much inspiration from. For example, the breakbeats in “My Work Will Be Done” envision an ensemble where Venetian Snares provides the background accompaniment rather than the main material. Throughout the whole album, hip-hop cliches are abound in the beats – from the actual drum sounds to the rhythm of the grooves to the fills that transition between parts. Even some of the synth melodies, such as the ones that begin “Forgive Me”, recall modern hip-hop.

What really makes Late Night Cinema stand out, however, is the way these two aspects blend for an incredible, enveloping sound that even Endtroducing... could not accomplish for more than a few tracks. The album is dense and packed with material, which is both its greatest strength and its greatest (perhaps only) flaw – at some points the listener doesn't know where to listen. Kingston and Young God know exactly where they stand, however, and each song has enough natural harmonic motion to complete itself, a remarkable feat especially for the lengthier cuts in the beginning of the album. They almost always return to a main theme and link everything together masterfully. Opener “The Era When We Sang” achieves all of this brilliantly, reaching a climax that is capitalized by a catchy trumpet melody that brings a new sense of regality to the sound with its fanfare-like rhythm. Where “The Era When We Sang” delivers its progression harmonically, “A Private Death” does so rhythmically, progressively becoming more intense with more breakbeats and rapid bass drum kicks. The frenetic string sample, which provides the song's main melodic theme, helps advance this nature in the melodic spectrum.

On first glance, it may seem that the duo placed their longest, strongest songs at the beginning of the album to give a powerful first impression that wows the listener until the album's end, thus hiding some of its flaws in the lesser tracks. And after “A Private Death”, it seems impossible that the album will continue its road of excellence. While nothing bests the first four songs (also the four longest), the album suffers from no major drop in quality. “Listen Child” offers relative repose from the constant swirling of melodic material with a simpler format, though still very evolved in comparison to other artists. “Different Hours” uses all its different sounds brilliantly, from the soaring violin to the constant undercurrent of the organ chords, perhaps the most soulful song on the album. Moment for moment, the album never falters, but what makes songs like “The Era When We Sang” and “Ghosts Among Men” stand out is the scope of the composition, the way it weaves so many threads together and remains cohesive.

Those threads extend to tie together the entire album, as it all falls inside an umbrella sound that makes Blue Sky Black Death unlike any other artist around right now. Their combined melodicism and appreciation for hip-hop cliché make an album at first accessible and still worth listen after listen after listen. And, for once, I find myself not going back to Endtroducing... to get this album, but better. Late Night Cinema is a beast of its own kind. While they have detailed their future as one of collabaroations with emcees, something they have done twice in the past with Wu-Tang affiliates Holocaust (Warcloud) and Razah, this is a duo that can stand on their own two feet and are best when not suppressed.



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user ratings (184)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album. Metaform up tonight.

Iai
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not even kidding, this shit slays. Wicked album.

honourosis
August 11th 2008


63 Comments


i can't get into this album at all

P13
August 11th 2008


1327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Shoot You Dead is superb, listening on myspace cause I'm too lazy to look else
where
so is The Era When We SangThis Message Edited On 08.11.08

Kage
August 11th 2008


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i guess i should give this one a run

Tyler
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


7926 Comments


Ditto.

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


6094 Comments


This is really good.

Doppelganger
August 11th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds cool

DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just wait until this evening when your instrumental hip hop intake is doubled.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ummm what am I waiting for

DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Metaform - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Myrrhman
August 11th 2008


83 Comments


first couple of sentences are pretty hilarious

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm aware, and honestly, I couldn't think of anything better for like 4 days so I got
fed up and posted it.

I suck This Message Edited On 08.11.08

Myrrhman
August 11th 2008


83 Comments


your review could start from "Instrumental hip-hop.." and work fine, tbh

BallsToTheWall
August 11th 2008


44408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is very good from what i've heard. Very spacey, currently enjoying Shoot Me Dead. I will have to acquire this very soon.

Digging: She Past Away - Belirdi Gece

Giza
August 11th 2008


20 Comments


Nice review. You sold me.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is really good.


4-4.5 material for me


Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Myrrhman
August 11th 2008


83 Comments


This still isn't up to Effigy or Pierced in my opinion.
i agree, it lacks that certain rawness that those albums had

Tyler
Emeritus
August 11th 2008


7926 Comments


got my tabs mixed up

timbo8
August 11th 2008


618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Reviews for 2 promising trip-hop albums in one day. Awesome



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