Music

Bilal: Levels EP

"Levels" has Flying Lotus’s sonic fingerprints all over it, even if he was only involved with a "re-edit" here.

Bilal

Levels EP

Label: Plug Research / iTunes
US Release Date: 2011-01-18
UK Release Date: 2011-01-18
Online Release Date: 2011-01-24
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

It seems that neo-soul and jazz singer-songwriter Bilal Sayeed Oliver has been riding high for the past few years. He was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for his appearance on Robert Glasper's song "All Matter", and was given the nod again this year in the same category for the song "Little One". He released his third album (one being unreleased) last year, Airtight’s Revenge, which just came short of cracking the top 100 of the Billboard Hot 200. Now, he has an iTunes digital EP to offer to the masses, "Levels", which is the third single from Airtight’s Revenge. It comes with a corresponding video that was directed by none other than super-producer Flying Lotus, making his directorial debut behind the camera. That connection is apt, because "Levels", at least in its original incarnation, has Flying Lotus’s sonic fingerprints all over it (the single comes with the original track, an instrumental version that's wholly unnecessary unless you want to try your hand at karaoke, and two remixes or "re-edits", one of which is cut up by the hands of none other than, yes, Flying Lotus). "Levels" is a claustrophobic track that has the hallmarks of the collage technique found on Cosmogramma. The beats gurgle like Swiss clockwork run amok, a piano line lilts and rock guitars surge towards the end of the track with ferocious intensity. It’s a decent song, though it’s a little busy and unfocused. The real standouts are the remixes, which pare the original track right down to the bare bones. All this goes to show you that maybe Steve Ellison (a.k.a. you-know-who) and the other remixer, Sonnymoon, knew something that Bilal didn’t. On the whole, the Levels EP is an intriguing bit of glitch pop. Unfortunately, though, the opening lyric is prescient: “Yeah, I’ve heard this one before.”

5
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.

Books

Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.

Music

'Switched-On Seeker' Is an Imaginative Electronic Reimagining of Mikal Cronin's Latest LP

Listeners who prefer dense rock/pop timbres will no doubt prefer Mikal Cronin's 'Seeker'. However, 'Switched-On Seeker' will surely delight fans of smaller-scale electronic filters.

Music

IYEARA Heighten the Tension on Remix of Mark Lanegan's "Playing Nero" (premiere)

Britsh trio IYEARA offer the first taste of a forthcoming reworking of Mark Lanegan's Somebody's Knocking with a remix of "Playing Nero".

Music

Pottery Take Us Deep Into the Funky and Absurd on 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel'

With Welcome to Bobby's Motel, Pottery have crafted songs to cleanse your musical pallet and keep you firmly on the tips of your toes.

Music

Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks'

Bob Dylan makes his third appearance on the Acclaimed Music list with his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. Counterbalance’s Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn are planting their stories in the press.

Music

Luke Cissell Creates Dreamy, Electronic Soundscapes on the Eclectic 'Nightside'

Nightside, the new album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Luke Cissell, is largely synthetic and electronic but contains a great deal of warmth and melody.

Music

Bibio Discusses 'Sleep on the Wing' and Why His Dreams Are of the Countryside

"I think even if I lived in the heart of Tokyo, I'd still make music that reminds people of the countryside because it's where my dreams often take me," says Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) of his music and his new rustic EP.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.

Film

A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.

Music

The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.