Brightblack Morning Light: Motion to Rejoin

July 5, 2010

Today’s roll: 1 – 3 – 14
Motion to Rejoin by Brightblack Morning Light.

There’s always a scene in a blaxploitation flick where the hero wanders into a shooting gallery or opium den. There’s a lot of red light and a slow Rhodes electric piano jam playing in the backgroud. If that happened to be the first scene, and the hero never left that room, Brightblack Morning Light would write the soundtrack album. These New Mexico uber-hippies (they live in tents in the desert and recorded this album using four solar panels) trade in a sort of slow-motion psychedelic soul.

Their sound is almost exactly that of listening to Curtis Mayfield records at half-speed, through a wall, while dosed on Nyquil. They themselves sound like they’re equally dosed on Nyquil as tempos range from no more than about 60 to 85 BPM and their reverb-drenched voices barely break a whisper. Their melodies are slippery as smoke, never giving you much to grab hold of and their two-chord vamps are seductively lulling. I generally use their records as sleep-aids. There should be a warning about not operating heavy machinery printed somewhere on the CD booklet.

These are all good things, in case you were wondering.

Motion to Rejoin, their second widely distributed album, matches pretty much identically the baroque minimalism of their self-titled debut. Since it’s unfathomably difficult to remember one of their songs five seconds after it’s played, or even distinguish between two compositions, it’s somewhat of a moot point comparing the sophomore release to the debut. If you like their sound, either album will do you in good stead.

This album, though, is perhaps a little more refined in its execution. It feels like a perfect balance of elements. The tremolo of a guitar blends into the gentle moan of a horn guided by the steady, bassy pumping of a Rhodes piano with all the edges rounded off. One is almost thankful for a lack of discernible lyrics or melody because those would ruin the spell and tear away the fuzzy, warm blanket it wraps you in.

For what the album aims to be—the aural equivalent of an opium-laced bong hit—it’s perfect.


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