Recordings: Blue Sky Black Death – A Heap of Broken Images

    It’s a risky prospect for any record company: Two unknown kids from the Bay Area want to release a double album, the first disc purely instrumental and the second overlaid with verses from a handful of random MCs. Thankfully, Mush records saw past this impracticality — A Heap of Broken Images encapsulates in its optimistic vision the opportunity for a fresh generation of hip-hoppers, the bright future of a genre struggling with age.

    Recordings: Blue Sky Black Death – A Heap of Broken Images

    Blue Sky Black Death (producers Kingston and Young God), who saw their picture under URB Magazine’s “Next 100” earlier this year, dive into their dream without the formulaic reservation that often impedes newcomers. Disc one’s surging piano chords, cello strings and atmospheric guitar combine with complex, electronically perfected beats. Vocal samples are pure and without the popular muddle of manipulation, threaded and repeated as flawlessly as the tolling bells and saxophones that dramatize their presence.

    Having established themselves as masters of ambiance, the duo works this magic into disc two’s wordplay. They manage to recontextualize the styles of their childhood underground heroes — including Jus Allah, A-Plus, Pep Love, Guru, Chief Kamachi and Awol One — through inspired, freshly brewed production. Holocaust, a member of the extended Wu-Tang family (his upcoming album is produced entirely by BSBD), flows for north of six minutes on “I Catch Fire,” prodded into extracting every last fiery string of lunacy that’s built up in his time of absence.

    That such heights can be reached at the hands of two prodigies working from their bedroom predicts an accessible new day for hip-hop, steeped in collaboration and experimentation.

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