Excuse my enthusiasm: but its really F!@#king refreshing to hear music come back. Come back to purer forms, come back to the deconstruction of sounds and the obvious emotional experience that goes hand-in-hand with music-making and music-listening. For a while there, it felt like certain genres of music went through a metaphorical Dark Age. For the lack of a better word, a lot of crappy music was made in this age. More importantly: as listeners of that music, we encouraged and perpetuated this sub-par music.
Now, music appreciation and the issue of tastes in music are both subjective topics: I can’t really tell you what to listen to, or what to avoid listening to. But heed my words: The kinds of music you listen to is indicative of the kind of person you are and by extension – your depth of character. Let that be a warning to you. If that makes you look introspectively; if it made you re-evaluate adding ‘listening to music’ in the About Me section of your Facebook page; If you just unliked that Pitbull & Flo-Rida track… If you acknowledge you could be listening to better quality music – then start here: with BADBADNOTGOOD.
Out of Toronto, Ontario: Matthew Tavares, Chester Hansen and Alexander Sowinski met in 2010 through the Humber College Jazz Program and united over their shared love for Hip Hop music. Today, the group is known for their transpositions and deconstruction methods. They are truly ridiculous. As is usually the case with such genius, the lecturers at the college did not see the awesomeness of their work. Someone did: Tyler,The Creator of the new rap supergroup Odd Future. He saw a YouTube post called The Odd Future Sessions and helped the group go viral.
BBNG & BBNG 2
The group went the route of most modern musicians / music brands: Digital! Their first album, recorded in just 3 hours, was released in 2011 on Bandcamp and featured Jazz / Hip Hop fusion arrangements of tracks by Waka Flocka Flame, Odd Future & Hip Hop royalty – A Tribe Called Quest (Check out the video below this paragraph). Their most notable live work included opening for Roy Ayers, playing for Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards in London and participating in a tribute to J Dilla in Toronto. All of this in 6 months.
The second album solidified the group’s reputation and showcased their growth. Recorded this time in a 10 hour session, BBNG 2 was released in April 2012 and features original works & arrangements of music by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake and The Feist. In the live performances work, the trio was the band-in-residence at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, backing a number of artists including both Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator. Side from the album and live work, the band also assisted in compositions and finalising the soundtrack for The Man with The Iron Fists.
The new album: III
And so we come to the focal point of this review. The third album was released in May, 2014 and is the first album to feature completely new and original material. From my perspective, this album works harder to maintain the appeal that the first two albums had. Gone is the familiarity of other artists’ music. A session musician myself, I just wanted to follow the music with that critical ear: deconstructing their arrangements to hear ‘how they did it’. And so: gone is the comparison and analysis that occurs when one listens like I do… Then again, not many people listen to music in the manner I do – as I was reminded just this morning.
I sat down, cut myself from the world (which, at 3.45 this morning, was asleep anyway); plugged in the headphones and let the journey begin. I heard deep, substantial drum work, juicy bass guitar and even 808’s. I sensed meticulous composition and arrangement. I felt the polyphonic (not like your old Nokia 3310, chap) keyboard chords in minor progression (as is the case with most Jazz music) create a dark feel to the music. I heard recurring motifs between songs, I heard decent buildups and fade-outs as well. This album, with all this… is amazing.
Instrumental albums could swing either way: either they are ridiculous (good) or just plain ridiculous (bad, real bad man – you gotta know the difference). The group insists on not being defined as an all-out jazz outfit. With some elements of rock (especially in the drum work), the drawn-out progression of more contemporary R&B, and the 70’s electro feel of the organ (especially in Since You Asked Nicely), the end product is super-appealing and not that difficult to listen to. I believe that this album (if not the entire body of work thus far) will find a home in your collection. I like to listen to music like this while designing or editing when I work late at night (or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it). It puts one on a musical journey and at the end of the 50 minutes of listening to BBNG III – I feel satisfied. I put to you another statement: you’ll hear this III album being slotted into motion picture productions as OST elements – I have a habit of being right about this so watch this space.
In summary then: The music is good. It’s Jazz, but not so excessively. Its modern reinterpretation without the pretense associated with Jazz-influenced music.
Check out BBNG’s III online and make that purchase on the iTunes store since it will not be made locally available.
Should I get this album? (Yes, This is the Jazz-influenced music of our time)9
Technical: Orchestration and Arrangement score 10
Can I play this at my Hipster Party? (or any party really?) score 8
If I get this and listen to it, will it make me cooler than before? score 9
Is it locally available? (Ah probably not chap, iTunes for you then!) score 1