Bryan Hollon aka Boom Bip is, at this stage, a prolific producer having reworked an impressive list of artists such as M83, Four Tet, Daedelus, and even Danny Elfman. Hollon was first noticed for his work with rapper Doseone with whom he produced the album for Mush Records. That was 11 years ago though, and Hollon has come a long way since including a stint leading the Delorean-themed electronic pop project Neon Neon which along with chief collaborator Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys also featured Spank Rock, Har Mar Superstar and Yo Majesty.
His latest album, Zig Zaj, on Lex, is perhaps a testament to just how far his solo production has come in terms of contrast. Richard Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand) both make guest appearances for one, showing how far indeed the Boom Bip name has become detached from its hip-hop genesis.
Zig Zaj is an odd album, a flexing of electronic muscle. A common problem when full time producers produce albums is that the end result sounds too polished, too perfect, as, after all, they are professionals at producing. For some, this is electronic perfection, crisp, pitch perfect beats and beautiful synths. For others, it’s clinical, cold and a little too like a job pitch for a new Volkswagon ad with guest vocalist from *insert popular indie band here* thrown in for good measure.
While it cannot be argued that Hollon is a good producer, this album seems to fall into the latter modal category. There are moments of greatness (‘Pele’) but moments of mediocrity too that can’t be overloooked (‘New Order’). The album lacks continuity, tracks don’t seem to fit together and instead it feels like Hollon is showcasing his portfolio, a digital CV. This is not Hollon or his Boom Bip moniker at its best, but it is a well-produced yet insubstantial showcase of what he is capable of.