Six years ago, the production duo Blue Sky Black Death released a fourteen song album known as NOIR. Instrumental front to back (unless, of course, you count the million+ vocal samples), the project feels like entering a movie. Each song is a new scene further progressing a vibrant story. Some of the most layered production around, NOIR is an album where new sounds can be discovered after the fifteenth listen. It's dense, orchestral in nature, and as beautiful as soaring through the clouds. It is an album that can bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face depending on the current mood and environment.
While Blue Sky Black Death have plenty of outstanding projects and a massive discography (some of which I will revisit in coming weeks/months on this site), it is NOIR that remains my personal favorite.
Released through label Fake Four Records, and with a praising Pitchfork review, NOIR might be the duo's most developed and inviting project. It's not a beat tape, and it's not necessarily shoegaze or trip-hop. Instead, it's caught in its own world, its own genre. Downtempo shoegaze coated in codeine. Like going to the symphony on barbiturates.
Their instrumental album Late Night Cinema (which many claim to be their best) was released three years before NOIR, and their instrumental album Glaciers (which many claim to be their best) followed two years later. With plenty of projects scattered in between (obviously), NOIR dropped at a time when cloud rap was truly blossoming. It was after NOIR that BSBD began releasing material with Nacho Picasso, Deniro Farrar, Main Attrakionz, and so many others. The rest is history.
Enjoy any of the Bandcamp playlists in this article. You can find the original NOIR through Fake Four at the bottom, while NOIR + VIOLET is the “screwed up” version and NOIR + DLXE offers 29 tracks, complete with B-Sides and reworkings. If you're a true BSBD fan like I am, you're already familiar with all three versions.
If you need more from the BSBD talents or need a reminder of what the two talents are currently working on solo-wise, 88 Ultra just helped to release a project called Waves of Ashes under the duo Kaskets, and Young God released an ambient album under the name Televangel. Yeah, you could say they're staying busy.