"The Blue Bay" C31
(Schwarz Neon Licht)

I love this tape…and I hate it. Maybe I only hate it because I love a part of it so much? Maybe I’m projecting? Maybe your relationship with this tape won’t be so complicated?

The songs. The space created. Just. Wow. Vocals a deep croonery akin to the space between Jerry Paper and Dent May (but after huffing whatever is the opposite of helium) are both eerie and soothing, as are the synth accents that make perfectly timed appearances, but leave before outstaying their welcome. Understated latin percussion carries these songs into a wonderfully weird realm of the Bermudan underworld where everyone drinks tranquilizers instead of daquiris. Did I mention that this all is happening under pop-music’s standard song structures?! And there’s a wah pedal in there that is, dare I say it, “tasteful”! Shit is brilliant.

So, why the hate? Well, again, maybe I wouldn’t be so annoyed with the small handful of instrumentals if I weren’t yearning so much for the rich, outsider vocals that start out this brilliant album! A kind of ‘90s R&B/funk soundtrack to my middle-school years, they beg for more, and I think I understand why BE didn’t lend his own; All I hear is the none-more-qualified Dr. Dre laying down some MTV-approved gangster raps. Perhaps a cockier vocal texture would best fit the busier live drumming? I dunno.

Keep up the good work…or at least the part I like the most. J

-- Jacob An Kittenplan