Artist: Boom Bip
Title: Zig Zaj
Label: Lex Records
Boom Bip’s Zig Zag is a diverse delectable dish of alliterate auditory awesomeness. Now that last statement isn’t exactly true, but it might be. Confused? Intrigued? Well that’s kind of how I feel after listening to the new album released by Boom Bip aka Bryan Charles Hollon. The album is a bit of an enigma which is probably how it’s supposed to be received. Knowing nothing about the artist before, I looked up some videos online and found a preview video for the Zig Zaj album that looked and sounded like the soundtrack to an upcoming David Lynch thriller. Fifty five seconds was barely enough to give me a sense of what the album was going to be like, so I listened to a couple of other tracks from earlier albums, but found only techno tracks that may have even been dated when they were released in 2002. Nevertheless I was still intrigued with what this album had to offer from a former DJ, who’s steadily been recording and producing music for the last decade, but this being his first solo album in at least 4 years.
Now that last statement isn’t exactly true either, because while Boom Bip is primarily instrumental music, Zig Zajenlists the help of various singers throughout the album to perhaps make it a bit more accessible if you will, and it works, some of the time. The album starts off with a short upbeat tune “All Hands” that feels a bit like an overture. The song is more of a prelude to the other tracks on the album, and at this point I’m ready to see what’s next.
What follows is probably the biggest disappointment onthe album, and that’s the first collaboration which happens to be with Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. The track itself “Goodbye Lovers and Friends” is Goth type electronic eulogy, which falls kind of flat. Kapranos never really lets the vocals take off with his low-talk singing style, plus the song doesn’t really work as a pure Goth number with Kapranos singing. As Hollon put it to Spin Magazine “Alex has a remarkable way of projecting happiness while still sounding dark”, but to me the song comes in that middle range of grey: dark but optimistic,which is not really that interesting as a song.
I’m happy to say though that after what I thought was going to be the seminal song on Zig Zaj, the album actually started to get better. A lot better. Starting with the4th track “Do As I Do” which features Cate Le Bon of his other side project Neon Neon. It’s a subtle, quiet track thatgives the album new life, a soundtrack to a TV show that I’d probably like to watch. Ironically or maybe not ironically, on the preview disc I listened to there was a “TV” version of “Do As I Do”. Perhaps they had the same idea, and are putting it out as a potential song to producers.
The album continues to get better with manic tracks like “Manabozh”, which was the Lynch type track I had heard in the preview and “Tumtum” which allows Hollon to get a bit more experimental with his instrumentation, a track at almost 10 minutes that is never boring. When the album ends with another creepy quiet number in “Mascot and the Moth’ I feel like the album almost succeeded in creating the perfect mishmash potpourri of electronic music, a “Zig Zaj” if you will. For Hollon this album will definitely open some doors to continue collaboration with many more artists that will probably start knocking on his door, and while it probably won’t make Boom Bip a household name, you may be hearing the music on TV pretty soon.
Reviewed by: Michael Unger