Since the release in 2000 of Circle, his collaboration with Doseone, Boom Bip has been known as the turntablist on the edge of avant-garde hip-hop. On Seed to Sun, his 2002 full-length, the producer was lauded for his broadened abstraction as he stepped further away from conventional hip-hop. He had fans anticipating his next move with every release. And with Blue Eyed in the Red Room, Boom Bip (a.k.a. Bryan Hollon) has proven that his transition away from hip-hop is complete.
Glazed with serene orchestral arrangements and organic synth tones, Red Room marks Boom Bip’s entrance into the world of electronic lounge. Gone are the traces of break beats amidst the experimentation. In their place is a gamut of laid-back grooves and slow-building indie-tronica. The result is a tepid collection of poorly constructed songs that fail to reinvent anything.
Amidst the boredom of such drab tracks as “Eyelashings” and “Cimple,” however, are brief moments where the record lingers slightly above mediocrity. “The Move,” which subtly represents the hip-hop he left behind, flows with gracious harmony. The album’s best tracks, however, are the bizarre pop with Gruff Rhys on “Do’s and Don’ts” and the show-stopping balladry provided by Nina Nastasia on “The Matter (Of Our Discussion).”
Despite the record’s desperate attempts to redeem itself, Blue Eyed in the Red Room is a celebration of the mundane. Though comparisons to the Postal Service and M83’s newer work are somewhat understandable, the record lacks emotion in a way that makes it better suited for a Volvo commercial or a Starbucks compilation.