It still may be too early to say that hip hop’s influence on the central strain of pop music is starting to dim, but there is certainly evidence of that rift emerging on the fringes. The adventures of Bryan Hollon (a.k.a. Boom Bip) trace an indicative arc: mining Ohio thrift stores in the early 90s for jazz and funk breaks, releasing critically acclaimed left field hip hop with partner Dose One, then gradually moving more towards the electronic end of the music spectrum through the beginning of the 2000’s, remixing artists like Mogwai, Amon Tobin and Super Furry Animals.
On the Sacchrilege EP, it becomes quickly apparent that he’s staying current. For starters, he seems to be very aware of the recent mania regarding Italo disco. Opener “Snook Adis” comes on like running music for overachieving robots with dramatic surge-y key loops and a thrumming bass line. In fact, it’s all machine talk–albeit danceable, funky machine talk–until the EP’s centerpiece, “Coogi Sweater.” As a mesmerizing synth vamp swims through the mix, guest vocalist Ali Lee trances through a verse of hypnotized materialism
In direct contrast, “Coogi Sweater” is followed up by “The Pinks,” the EP’s most organically “alive” track, ironically unadorned by the human voice. The opening drum salvo is a little stale but the track is quickly rescued by a cowbell cameo as it speeds towards the dance floor. Album closer “One of Eleven” strays more towards hardcore electronic music and might be the least effective track here, but it still has its charms. Stereo effects and a synth string section fly in from out of nowhere near the end of the track. By this time, however, Boom Bip has made his point: partying with robots can be fun for a while, and it might even pay the bills.