Boom Bip

Zig Zaj

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Boom Bip was one of the canniest underground beat producers around before he hooked up with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals to create the fascinating Neon Neon project, which took as its focus automaker John DeLorean and what his car (and charisma) meant to the '80s. BB's return to the solo realm finally came on 2011's Zig Zaj, which has more in common with Neon Neon than with his early solo joints. (Features for Cate Le Bon and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, among others, certainly fit in.) As always, it's impeccably produced -- Hollon has only gained in proficiency and maturity as a producer. But compared to Seed to Sun or Blue Eyed in the Red Room, whose fascination with sound was positively contagious, Zig Zaj sounds like an overly safe record, the type that most producers would avoid if they wanted to keep innovating. Heavily influenced by rock and '80s new wave, similar to Neon Neon's Stainless Style, its impressions are largely textural, and as talented a producer as Boom Bip has become, Zig Zaj sounds more like a rehash than the entirely new recipe that music fans are undoubtedly looking for.

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