Stormy weather: Music to mope by

Blockhead
Music By Cavelight
Ninja Tunes records


Spring is upon us. Unpredictable weather. Flash storms. The signs are all there. Overcast and rainy days just put me in a mood. Not a good or a bad mood– it's more like a fog or a haze that just sits over my disposition making me apathetic and lethargic. I suppose we will be seeing a few more sleepy Sundays like this past one, and I am sure there will be weekdays where it's hard to go to work. So let me put you on to a record that will help you survive the stormy weather by embodying the seasonal melancholy in music.

For those of you unfamiliar, Blockhead is not a new head on the block. He initially got his feet wet doing production for Aesop Rock and Slug of Atmosphere. In January, he released his first solo instrumental album, Insomniac Olympics, on London's Ninja Tunes records. That album, a journey into the soul of trip-hip, was a decent start for him into the world of instrumental music. His most recent effort, Music By Cavelight, is about as close to a classic down-tempo album as one could hope for from someone of his creative ability.

Blockhead has built a reputation for producing sleepy tracks with heavy bass and memorable melodies. His penchant for intricate drum programming and unpredictable loop patterns is attractive to people like me who've outgrown the basic verse/chorus method of song construction. Present here are the brooding strings and sporadic vocal samples that have become his calling card.

In addition to his standard formula, here he's added guitarist Damien Paris and turntablist Omega One on many of the tracks.

The first listen to Music By Cavelight will not reveal anything groundbreaking, but the album is very sublime. After three or four tracks, it sneaks its way into your subconscious. The music lingers so unobtrusively that it could easily become the soundtrack of any lazy day. Every listen becomes more enjoyable (I listened to the album three times on repeat while reading in my living room). Each listen reveals the clever intricacies of the production and the genius with which Blockhead shifts moods throughout the record.

There are no standout tracks here. Each one plays a role in the complete project so that the sum of the parts equals the whole. The whole, for lack of a better term, is intoxicating– not in the sense of alcohol, but more along the lines of valium or a joint. Although the songs take their time developing, they never become stale or tiresome. Blockhead is patient in his composition, showing a maturity in songwriting comparable to DJ Shadow, RJD2, and down-tempo princes Thievery Corporation.

If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned producers, you'll love what Blockhead has done here. If not, don't be afraid to give this one a chance. You may find that I'm right about Music By Cavelight being the perfect music for a rainy day.


Music by Cavelight