Review Summary: More awesomeness
Blue Sky Black Death - NOIR
West coast production team Blue Sky Black Death come together once again and present to us a collection of beats and synths in the form of NOIR
. Having collaborated with artists such as the boys of CunninLynguists, Big Krit, Hell Razah, and Sadistik, the boys of Blue Sky have been active and busy in the scene since ’05, yet relatively unknown to the outside (mainstream) crowd. Late Night Cinema
was the turning point for the team; featuring dark trip-hop inspired beats, cleverly placed samples and an overly dark atmosphere reminiscent to Endtroducing
-era DJ Shadow. However, since then Blue Sky Black Death has been simply riding on the curtails and laurels of their fame and making albums that are a shadow of what they are truly capable of, never really grasping their full potential. NOIR
is a continuation of that trend.
Things have been changed a bit on NOIR
as compared to past Blue Sky releases. Now starting to heavily rely on a more synth and piano-like sound, it starts to borrow from a more Japanese style of hip-hop (Nujabes, Specifics, Uyama Hiroto, and Shing02). The same ‘boom-clap’ still prevalent in American instrumental hip-hop is present all throughout NOIR
as well, yet the synths add a very interesting element of surrealism all throughout the listen. Opening track “Our Hearts of Ruin” is tag teamed with a simple yet haunting synth line throughout the entire song and “To The Ends of The Earth” borrow so heavily from Nujabes and the like that it’s difficult to differentiate the two. This also helps amplify the atmosphere of the album even more heavily. NOIR
is a very dark album. Dark in the sense that every track carries a sense of depression, solitude, and foreboding; Blue Sky Black Death capitalize on their ability to craft highly well thought out beats and marry it with a very doom and gloom like sound.
But the fact of the matter remains is that NOIR
becomes highly repetitive after repeated listens. At more than an hour in length, featuring fourteen fully fleshed out songs, the album tends to overstay its welcome. While far from becoming redundant, NOIR
just doesn’t carry enough variety and spice to keep the listen fresh and memorable. Granted, every song has its own distinct beat and sound, yet the songs themselves carry no depth outside of the initial thirty seconds and sporadic samples thrown in every once in a while. But the samples alone cannot pull the album out from dragging out longer than it should. Good music to fall asleep to, yet nothing outside of primary face value.
However, Blue Sky Black Death have succeeded in creating a successful album by their shear tenacity of crafting beats that can set an atmosphere that few artists in both trip-hop and hi-hop just cannot step up to. NOIR might be a tad shallow in its depth and not nearly a fully realized piece of art, but it does keep the hype and potential of the group alive and well. It wouldn’t be surprising if the album does little to help Blue Sky Black Death breakthrough to new fans but for those who are familiar with the production team there can be nothing but positive praise for the group.