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culture

Sound Advice: BBNG2 by Badbadnotgood

Odd Future's favourite Torontonians prove that they're not just a fancy cover band on their second album.

BBNG2, the latest offering from jazz-hop juvenile delinquents Badbadnotgood, is equal parts original compositions and re-imaginings of both recent hits and more obscure fare. (They end the album with a version of My Bloody Valentine’s “You Made Me Realise”, a song that is several years older than anyone in the band.)

Their vocal-free, abstract take on Earl Sweatshirt’s “Earl”—which is the song embedded in this post—is actually more disturbing than the original. The bass line gets distorted until it sounds like a thousand Harley-Davidsons rolling down the street in unison, the snare drum is actually disorienting, and the added saxophone sounds almost ghostly. The whole thing eventually breaks down, or builds up, into a breakneck-paced controlled implosion.

BBNG’s re-working of James Blake’s “CMYK” takes the original’s 2-step garage flourishes and morphs them into wild drum improvisations. Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” gets taken for a particularly interesting ride, with an extended piano break rendering the middle portion of the song almost unrecognizable, though still mighty enjoyable. “Limit to Your Love,” on the other hand, is relatively faithful, if not to the Feist original, than at least to the James Blake cover.

Among the original compositions, “CHSTR” and “Vices” are the standouts. “CHSTR” is, not surprisingly, a showcase for the skills of bassist Chester Hansen. He tests the limits of his instrument over the course of the five-and-a-half minute track, ranging from rumbling lows to almost guitar-like highs. “Vices,” on the other hand gives pianist Matthew Tavares room to play. He opts to creep us out with a series of ominous, ethereal chords that eventually speed up into a terrifying chase.

Badbadnotgood may have made their reputation by goofing around with hip-hop hits, but BBNG2 proves that the young trio is capable of operating on a lot of different levels.

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