- BlackNGold, Pet the Lights, 2012, 5 Star Musique
BlackNGold's Pet the Lights identifies as its target a fusion of hip-hop and indie rock. If you are having difficulty imagining that (or if you are imagining something in the neighborhood of Astronautilus or Grieves), the fault lies entirely with the term "indie rock," which has gone post-meaning. But there's no doubt that Pet the Lights is a work of stylistic fusion, and a compelling, sonically rich one at that. Hudson-based, Paris-native rapper Young Paris was born to a family of African musicians and dancers, and an ancient/modern, Earth/electronic duality defines the flavor of the project. The Earth/ancient overtones are often provided by the hefty, ominous baritone of guest vocalist Miles Vidor and by frequent African-flavored guitar hooks.
Young Paris co-wrote about half of these songs with producer/composer Steve Durand (Melissa Auf der Maur). The Durand-penned tracks twinkle and pulse with electronic textures, layers of melody, and punchy, subtle grooves. Of these, one of the strongest tracks, "Ashes N Dust," is a clever David Bowie homage. Other highlights include the minimalist electro-folk of "Falling Down," in which guest vocalist Lady Moon delivers a lovely litany of Zen paradoxes, and, especially, the garage-tribal freakout of "Africa Rock (Diata)." Against these dramatic and laboriously detailed tracks, Young Paris lays down lyrics that are part global realism, part confessional narrative—right at home in the new, low-cliché realm of alt-rap. Blackngold.info.