BADBADNOTGOOD - III

Released May 6, 2014

By Graham White

In BADBADNOTGOOD’s third studio album, naturally titled III (2014), the trio of musicians have possibly created one of the most potent and imaginative sounds to erupt from a set of speakers. It is a hip-hop sampler’s treasure trove, full of juicy grooves and smooth moves.

As Gil Scott-Heron says regarding Jazz: “...[it is] dance music, dance music from it’s earliest beginnings to where it is now...they play jazz, they play any music for you to dance by, for you to jump up and down on...” (Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TghEIWbKAM&feature=kp)

I find this description of jazz particularly fitting to the album as a whole, as there is no un-moveable beat, no disruption of flow. From a seemingly humble start, Triangle drops us into their world of silken-threaded bass lines and decidedly gives us a tastes of the album’s upcoming intensity. It has a capturing effect, and as it beats into Can’t Leave The Night’s hypnotic drive and fall, your ears are committed to the sound.

Confessions’ featured saxophonist Leland Whitty pushes the sound further, describing emotions in aural detail over the jazzy rhythm section, synchronized in feeling. Kaleidoscope exhibits intensity in the most minor of keys, to light it up with what could only be described as sun incarnate, such joyous notes colliding together. The constant tempo changes can do nothing but delight, as they rise and fall with the modes of the piece. Eyes Closed does nothing to slow the roll, giving you but a moment of reprieve before throwing you back into the dance of the individual sounds. The bass line and the rhythm dance noticeably, what can we do but close our eyes and follow in their flow?

Each track provides a luscious new mood with it’s tempo changes and repeating melodies. Hypnotic and rushed with Hedron, soulful and elegant with Differently, Still. Spacey jazz tones light up Since You Asked Kindly with an odd yet invigorating beat, leading into CS60’s depth-defying electronic drone of a climax that gives us so just enough groove to crave more. Thankfully, Sustain delivers a denouement as juicy as the introduction.

From beginning to end, III is undefinably unique in its combination of jazz, electronica and hip-hop. Unconventional, powerful and hypnotic, there is true musicianship in the work of Tavares, Sowinski and Hansen. Few create a sound so velvety that it makes ears swoon, but here we have an album that goes above and beyond with it’s bare boned jazz trio approach. Creating layers of sound that rich and sturdy give it the ability to stand on it’s own as solid, unconventional dance music. 

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