Oh, how I love this record. Let me count the ways.
So, a few posts back I talked about the swaggeriffic Nacho Picasso and mentioned Blue Sky Black Death, the duo of Kingston and Young God who have built an impressive resume of excellent, larger-than-life soundscapes. I mentioned this particular record, 2011’s Noir, and mentioned it as a torrid love affair that you shouldn’t get me started on.
Well, I’m damn well getting started on it!
Emerging in the early 2000s the Seattle-based Blue Sky Black Death (one hell of a name there) got their start producing for rappers like Hell Razah, Jean Grae, Guru, Jus Allah, and many more, but its always been their solo work which I’ve found most engaging. Head and shoulders above most, BSBD favors creating true compositions, music with intent, power, and complexity, music which is emotional and stays with you. Simply put: Wondrous, beautiful stuff. I’ve been a legit fan since their first true solo record, 2008’s Late Night Cinema, with it’s huge listens and excellent orchestral accompaniment. Since then, the group has gone more personal in their music, moving from large and sweeping to stripped-down, personal affairs, with wheels turning within wheels, and Noir presents some of their finest work yet.
The moment where Noir truly became a treasure for me was last summer, when I traveled to Central America and had this record on steady repeat. It was a superlative experience to travel around the beautiful country of Belize with this as my soundtrack. It fit the experience perfectly, as Noir is a joyous and imaginative record, with songs that captivate. It’s not a record you just listen to, it’s something you experience. I haven’t heard music this brilliant in a long time, and even though its been over a year since I first heard it, it’s still a favorite.
It’s difficult to choose just one listen from the album, so I went with the opener, “Our Hearts of Ruin.” Contrary to the name, this listen is an excursion, a perfect introduction to the wonder of this album. I hope you enjoy it.