08 August 2016

IV - BadBadNotGood


Toronto Jazz trio BadBadNotGood are now a quartet, having invited saxophonist Leland Whitty, the secret sauce behind the band’s best previous output, Confessions, to join as a full member. I’m not a fan of Ghostface Killah’s style of barking unrhythmic style of rapping, so their collaboration album Sour Soul was a let down, but their latest album IV is a return to their old style, matured. It’s their best release yet.

Chompy’s Paradise is devine. The grove is smooth and hypnotic broken up with progressive rhythm changes and a chorus that slowly ascends to heaven. Another highlight is IV, with fast, dueling bass, piano and saxophone lines that suddently become soft and sweet.

This album is not totally flawless. The tone of Colin Stetson’s saxophone playing on the song Confessions Pt II is a little too harsh for my taste. The organ on Time Moves Slow clashes with the vocal melody.

Still, the album on a whole is a fantastic. The band continues to progress towards a sound that fully-absorbed jazz fans will find enthralling while seemlessly blending with contemporary hip-hop, as with the song Hyssop of Love.

Monomania, Vision Crimes and Self-titled Split EPS - Child Bite

Monomania - Child Bite Vision Crimes - Child Bite Child Bite / We Are Hex Split EP - Child Bite

Aside from missing friends, my biggest regret about moving to San Diego was missing Vektor open for Voivod in Toronto. Though I may have missed that concert, I instead was able to see them when the played San Diego, where they were opened by Child Bite. Following their frenetic but fantastic live performance, I bought their three EPs on Bandcamp, Monomania, Vision Crimes and their self-titled EP.

It’s hard to define Child Bite’s genre. Like Voivod, they are closest to punk rock, but with lyrics like Can or Zappa combined with some sludge metal sounds over a mid-century musical melody. Many songs start off with rough production or a punk-like simplicity to the singing and melody. The melodies on certain songs, like Wrong Flesh, are annoying in their simplicity and lack of resolution. I’m not sure if this is intentional. A minute into most songs, however, and it has progressed into unexpected territory. It’s this progression and a lot of technical talent that have kept my attention.

Wriggle - Clipping.

Wriggle - clipping.

Clipping. is a experimental noise-rap group fronted by Hamilton start Daveed Diggs. Often compared to Death Grips, their comparison ends at the outlandishness of the composition. Unlike Death Grips, the Diggs aims to tell coherent and descriptive stories that put you in the mind of someone else with the drama and clarity expected of a Shakespearean actor. It’s this rap storytelling that made me fall in love with their last albums Midcity and CLPPNG, especially the songs Story and Summertime. The have now released an EP to tease their next album, Splendor & Misery which comes out next month.

The EP begins with Shooter, a song describing three different types of violent people in our modern society. It’s an interesting concept, but the entire song being written in hashtag rap, which I can’t listen to without thinking of Iggy Azalea’s line “Watch a new Kardash, call me Kylie”.

Back Up features the clipping triumvirate of sound effects for the bassline and percussion, detailed descriptions of environments, and sarcastic protrayals of hardcore drug users.

Wriggle is interesting because it’s a song about BDSM peppered with moments of trepidation, not merely bragging about sex or talking about how attractive/horny his partner is. The chorus and composition are equally frenetic and odd.

Hot Fuck, by contrast is a generic sex song who’s sole novelty is that it speeds up near the end like a climax.

The last song on the album is a bit of a snoozer. The singing is bad.

Although three of the songs are merely alright, the two fantastic songs, Back Up and Wriggle are well worth the price of the EP. I look forward to the album next month.

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