Glaciers has taken over my life.
Since 12 AM, October 1st my existence has been Glaciers. It’s my go-to listen for the commute to work. The soundtrack which keeps the office at bay as I toil away in my cube. The brooding, contemplative sounds as I ride the train home. The listen which helps me unwind at home, and the burner which I keep on replay late into the night. I said it before, I’m a huge fan of Blue Sky Black Death but damn, I didn’t know the addiction would be this rough.
But let’s back up for a sec. For the uninitiated, Blue Sky Black Death is the Seattle duo of Kingston and Young God, who originally started out producing for hip-hop acts before branching out into solo work, building a sound and style over the years which is sweeping, emotive, and methodical. It’s heavy on the strings, synths and samples. Simply put, they compose brilliant, cerebral music.
Glaciers, their first instrumental project since 2011’s sublime Noir, is the first record I’ve heard in a long time which simply DEMANDS to be heard and understood on it’s own terms. It’s a progression of BSBD’s sound, with musical elements, motifs and techniques heard in previous records like Noir and 2008’s Late Night Cinema revisited and perfected. A companion record to Noir, Glaciers stands in stark contrast to the bright, airy and outright joyous feel of the previous record. Glaciers is darker, hazier and more morose. It’s slower and more insular than Noir, a perfect fall and winter album to Noir‘s spring / summer mood. Glaciers is only five tracks long, with the shortest at 8 minutes, and while you may initially balk at the song lengths you’ll realize from the first play that BSBD has orchestrated matters tightly. No minute is wasted and every track is a journey…Wheels turning within wheels.
“III” is one of the record’s highlights. A slow burn, this listen steadily builds in tension (particularly the intriguing and rather unsettling sample of a phone call from a 9/11 victim…which, I’m still not quite sure how to feel about), unfolding and evolving until it reaches an utterly transcendent peak towards the end, utilizing a familiar melody: A slowed and corrupted version of the opening of Noir‘s opening track “Our Hearts of Ruin,” before heading into a freefall of a conclusion.
Have a good pair of headphones, sit back, and close your eyes…this one is worth every second.