Blue Sky Black Death: Noir Review

“A skydiving phrase alluding to death and beauty”.

That’s the inspiration behind Seattle based production duo Kingston and Young God’s musical project Blue Sky Black Death.

As something of a self confessed gormandiser of BSBD’s signature sound, pitching layers of atmospheric textures against floaty percussion, I figured reviewing their new album would be pretty easy.

However, Noir just isn’t that simple.

I started free-falling into Kingston and Young God’s extreme musical experience as early as 2006, through their collaboration with prolific Wu Tang Clan affiliate Warcloud, aka Holocaust.

Their self titled album, The Holocaust, blew my mind; the visceral electronic soundscapes crafted by BSBD, baked with Warcloud’s intensely visual and non linear lyrics, made for one delicious pie.

A musical pie I’m still happily devouring.

My interest suitably piqued, I sought out BSBD’s sophomore album A Heap Of Broken Images recorded four months earlier.

Chloroform, Heroin for God and Days are Years were landmark prototypes of contemporary production, towering high above the smog of mainstream club bangers and soulless commercial tunes that so often pollute electronica’s sonic skyline.

By the time Late Night Cinema came out, I was emotionally entwined with BSBD’s music. This immediate predecessor to Noir was gourmet electronica at its most refined; effortlessly soulful and mesmerizingly enchanting.

I didn’t think BSBD could get any better, until Noir came along.

Kingston and Young God’s new album simply defies convention, with individual tracks feeling less like songs and more similar to chapters of a novel. Reviewing every tune from Noir would be akin to tearing a page out of your favourite book and hoping it made sense on its own.

Noirbegins by slowly layering sounds on top of each other, subtly building their trademark ambient music piece by piece into a crescendo of tingles, jingles and all things sparkly and shiny. As the record gradually evolves, so do my feelings of euphoria.

I feel as if I’m slowly ascending a winding staircase to my very own tailor-made paradise. This being my version of paradise, Jessica Alba is waiting at the top of these stairs; suckling a child who looks suspiciously like me with her milky nourishment.

What I’m trying to articulate, if I can just keep my filthy mind off Jessica Alba breastfeeding me long enough, is that Noir sounds like bliss manifested into music.

Perhaps this is because Kingston and Young God do production so very differently to their peers.

Whilst most of their electronica contemporary’s restrict themselves to focusing on a single musical style, suffering from vertigo whenever they approach the thresholds of this genre’s predetermined conventions, BSBD are intent on taking the polar opposite approach to making music.

Kingston and Young God create beautiful collages of sound with emotion, mood and feeling as the primary source of inspiration rather then simply crafting aesthetically pleasing mainstream noise.

Which makes Noir the perfect name for BSBD’s new album, as all the influences this Seattle based duo have absorbed from wherever their musical muse has lead them are infused on their new record.

From BSBD’s collaborative work with rappers like Sabac Red and Ill Bill, through to their indie projects with Alexander Chen and Yes Alexander; it’s all been filtered into their musical consciousness and thrown into Noir’s melting pot of sounds and feelings.

Now, whenever some musical heretic tells me how artificial, un-organic and soulless electronica is, I’ll be able to hold them down and force them to aurally swallow the harmonious beauty of Noir.

This is music you’d hear when in your dreams. For me, this commonly involves finding myself dressed in a thin white cotton robe as I run in slow motion across a summer meadow, towards a beautiful setting sun.

A nude Jessica Alba just ahead is entirely optional, Noir in the background really isn’t.

Kareem Ghezawi

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Dates ‘n stuff

May 2011