All of the people, where are they coming from
Photo by Arndalarm
"Sort of like a dream. No, better," Air France sang earlier this year on "Collapsing At Your Doorstep." I don't know what subject they had in mind, but it should've been Blue Sky Black Death's fourth album Late Night Cinema. This set of gauzy dreamscapes effortlessly drifts between the waking and unconscious, a glyercine-drip of moving moments and indelible ephemera. Though BSBD's members, Kingston and Young God, have a background in hip-hop production, their new work goes far beyond genre parameters. Late Night Cinema is the Deadringer follow-up RJD2 would've written at midnight in a perfect world; it's Moby's Play chopped and screwed or an agoraphobic's Endtroducing...
Late Night Cinema is also an album in the way fewer and fewer LPs are these days, meaning that some out-of-context samples or cursory listens won't do it justice. It's a work that needs your full attention, atmospheric enough for ambient listening but deserving of the foreground. It needs time to fully seep into your circulatory system, steeping deeply in a) the cool autumn air, b) a cumulus cloud of weed, or c) the woozy black-blue stretch of hours before daybreak. Nonetheless, a few tracks do stand out as especially revelatory, hovering in some lovely median between heartache and memory.
"Lord of Our Vice" is a love song that truly evokes love's messy abstractions. As a plaintive singer insists, "I'll always love you," she also can't help but add, "And nobody... and nobody..." The song's strength lies in those ellipses, that hint of the ineffable hovering over every word. What she's trying to say is left up to us to decode (And nobody [else]/ And nobody [can change that]/ And [yet] nobody/ And nobody [knows]), giving it a potent open-endedness. Other dispossessed voices also drift in and out of the mix, haunting the beat and howling in sympathy. It's a track fraught with passion and sorrow, celebrating a love complicated enough to merit the term.
Even more adrift and existential is "My Work Will Be Done." It's probably the purest summation of the album's intentions, and certainly the most affecting. The singer from "Lord of Our Vice" is now asking, "All of the people, where are they coming from?" as a soulful man keeps replying, "You were dreaming." It's a strange and impressionistic conversation, with an internal logic well-suited for a David Lynch sequence. Musically, the key attractions are the majestic strings and manic drum programming, which meld together with a similar grace. There's also a guitar section saturated with reverb, further underscoring how Late Night Cinema sounds like one of the sweetest dreams you've ever had. No, better.
* MP3: "Lord of Our Vice" - Blue Sky Black Death from Late Night Cinema
* MP3: "My Work Will Be Done" - Blue Sky Black Death from Late Night Cinema [Buy it]