Paul Blackford – Light Years

2 out of 5

Label: Central Processing Unit

Produced by: Paul Blackford

Paul Blackford’s hip-hop-infused groove has provided us with a killer catalogue of beats across his releases, ratcheting up or down in intensity as per the mood of that song, or that album. Paul’s generally slow-roll approach works well for this, milking the maximum effect out of a few layers of synths atop a core beat, since that core is generally instantly head-bobbing, right from the get-go, and then faster / louder tracks obviously stand way out from that. 

So it’s a bit disappointing / confusing when an album is rather lacking in those enhancements – the well-applied layering; the juxtaposition of moods – and is boiled down to just the beats. Light Years’ 8 tracks (on the digital, rated here – also available as 2 song single, which is more tolerable due to brevity, but afflicted by the same criticism which follows) all meet the mark of that instantaneous groove quality, but, problematically, every song is approximately the same cadence, and every song is the same structure.  

We start with a beat, add a funky and pretty synth line, then halfway through drop the synth for a couple bars, then bring it back for the conclusion. 8 times. Even individually, these songs tend to display my one prior comment on Paul’s music: that some tracks hang on their repeated bits for too long. And that’s essentially happening on both the macro and micro levels here, with no songs to break the pattern. 

Well produced as always, and still resplendent in killer, base rhythms, Light Years ultimately is better ad background music, somewhat akin to one song looped at length, good for not distracting while you do other things.