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Posts Tagged ‘black sky blue death’

Alu, a songwriter from LA, seems to have perfected the art of crafting playful pop songs. But in the continued tradition of good music going unnoticed, hardly anyone bought her brilliant debut – Infomercial Gasmask. Her next album Lobotomy Sessions was even better; not that the album sales were any indicator of quality. The playful innocence that washed over most of the tracks in her debut album was injected with a bit of estrogenic disenchantment for her sophomore effort. This single “Martian Rendezvous” sounds like something out of Roald Dahl’s imagination…warm, melodious and always on the verge of shifting its own shape and sound. She is Sinead O’ Connor lying beneath a mulberry tree. She is Annie Lennox after yet another a heartbreak. She’s a really fucking good singer.

When I heard of a band called Blue Sky Black Death, I half-expected them to be worshippers of John Zorn. Or perhaps ardent dabblers of alternative freakout sessions of Acid Mother Temple proportions. I also considered the chance that they were death-metallers who grunt and scowl at everything that has been left untainted by sheep’s blood and an Iommi riff. Such drastic misconceptions these were. Blue Sky Black Death is a production crew turned hip-hop duo turned instrumentation and sampling geniuses. Their first album A Heap of Broken Images was a difficult double album choke full of underground guest appearances. I say difficult since most of these tracks felt like they belonged in a B-sides mixtape. Second time around, they released The Holocaust, which was a study in the dark Motown soundscapes with tracks like Killer Moth and Twilight Zone that float nervously into the grimy underbelly of rap music.

A couple of months ago, they released Late Night Cinema, which had them straying away the norms and leading their sound into an alien landscape of electronica and classical sampling. With sparse vocals, melancholic strings, menacing beat and everything else that could give DJ Shadow a hard-on, “Ghost Among Men” is a beautiful piece of orchestral hip-hop. Sort of like soul food that you can eat without feeling the burden of calories.

Like his Facebook fan club says, Diplo is the shit. Born as Wesley Pentz, this Philadelphia-based DJ was earlier known for his visceral remixes of Sri Lanka rapper M.I.A that brought roofs down on many London clubs. Known for his music styles that ranged from funk and gothic electronica to southern crunk and drum n bass, Diplo has since become the remixer of choice for Indie legends such as The Decemberists, Hot Chip and Peter Bjorn. It would be dam near crazy to look at him as just another DJ getting his rocks off other people’s music. For proof, look no further than his brilliant remix of New York jazz singer Marlena Shaw’s California Soul. A lovely transformation of a jazz number into a lumbering beast of a lounge track.

Great enough for jazz to take a backseat, I shit you not.

Download

Alu – Martian Rendezvous

Black Sky Blue Death – Ghost Among Men

Diplo and Marlena Shaw – California Soul

Buy

Alu’s Lobotomy Sessions

Blue Sky Black Death’s Late Night Cinema

Diplo’s Florida

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