I am not really sure I know what instrumental Hip Hop is. I have been told that artists I like very much such as Prefuse 73, Flying Lotus, DJ Shadow, Alias, and J Dilla are instrumental hip hop. I am still not sure if a boundary line exists between the general corpus of electronic music and producers who compose music for rappers and remix songs. Ok, put down the scalpel and let’s talk about Blue Sky Black Death. Positioned somewhere between DJ Shadow and Kanye West the ominously named BSBD (named after a skydiving term) combines textured strings and piano lines of DJ Shadow with the keyed up left-field soul sampless of Mr. West. A trademark of BSBD is their surprisingly organic rhythm section, programmed beats skitter everywhere while anchored to relevance by live drumming and instrumentation. The vocal samples are choice, ranging from the left field soul samples of Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles and Funkadelic to the stunning vocal contribution of Yes Alexander on “Shoot you Dead”. The vocals are allowed to flow freely in and out of the mix while beautifully orchestrated strings and minimalist piano lines drive the piece to a euphoric climax. Remember how cool Jay Z was for sampling those kids singing “Hard Knock Life”? “Legacy to Fuel” will utterly floor you. Highly recommended.

Ryan H.

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