Blue Sky Black Death, 'Slow Burning Lights' (Babygrande)

6
Slow Burning Lights
Critical Mass
Label: Babygrande

by Josh Modell

The moniker of this hip-hop production duo -- who have worked with MCs ranging from Jean Grae to various Wu-Tang and Hieroglyphics affiliates -- sounds far more menacing and dramatic than their music, especially on this subdued collaboration with vocalist Yes Alexander. Her whispery tones dominate most songs (as much as whispery tones can dominate anything), floating above surgically pleasant beats and synth atmospheres. It's never as punchily trip-hoppy as Sneaker Pimps or as blatantly out-there as Joanna Newsom, but the fittingly named Slow Burning Lights sits on the same off-kilter pop continuum.

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