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Blue Sky Black Death

Late Night Cinema

(Babygrande; US: 29 Apr 2008; UK: 9 Jun 2008)

The Bay Area’s Kingston and Young God dare you to pigeonhole them with the release their second solo record. Their double LP debut got the fire started in 2006 with one disk of hip-hop instrumentals and another with various vocal collaborations. The second disk would lead them to produce an entire album for Wu Tang affiliate The Holocaust, released some three months later. A year after that, they released another Wu Tang connected album, this time giving Hell Razah (also of Sunz of Man) more old soul and R&B flavored beats.


Late Night Cinema is their fourth album in less than two years, and changes the game yet again. The duo brought in a slew of vocalists, violinists, and even a synth/organ man to collaborate with them in the studio. With that, they backed off the punchy moodiness of their earlier work in lieu of strings and uplifting electronics. The average track length has swelled to over 5 minutes (rare for instrumental hip-hop). The opening “The Era We Sang” manages to marry club breakbeat and downtempo in its six minute, with a little post-rock and Coon’s violin virtuosity thrown in for flavor. “Ghosts Among Men” sounds like an Isaac Hayes or stock Motown instrumental with a piano plinking something like the Halloween theme. Late Night Cinema is a thorough triumph from two of hip-hop’s most exciting prospects.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys, with a butt that won't quit.


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