Reading the inside sleeve of Blueprint’s Chamber Music speaks volumes of BP’s latest instrumental effort: “I did not make this record for rappers to rap to. I need not make this record for dancers to dance to. I am well aware that this album is dark – my next one will be brighter.”
As one-half of Soul Position (along with fellow instrumentalist RJD2), Blueprint has been entrusted in the past to lay down production efforts for the likes of Illogic and his own solo The Weightroom album. But with Chamber Music, ‘Print escapes the world of looped-up instrumentals and microphone checks to deservedly deliver a much more experimental attempt at an instrumental album (with the exception of several quality guest inclusions).
One problem straight out of the chamber for Blueprint is that adjective “experimental.” While his past journeys into the world of hip-hop (both twisting the knobs behind-the-scenes and lyrically) have combined him with worthy contributions from others, BP often finds himself alone looking for the next corner to turn on Chamber Music.
The dreamy vibes of “Starch,” complete with the sounds of birds chirping, resonates like something straight out of the end of a Super Mario Brothers video game (you know the part, when Mario rescues Princess from the burning tower and suddenly the sun rises over a beautiful landscape).
The more uptempo head-nodder “My Melody” finds Blueprint seemingly throwing whatever sounds he can into a cornucopia of melodies and coupling them with the sounds of an interview from P. Diddy explaining how melody makes a song. Interesting enough, but the curious inclusion of Diddy is not exactly something to keep people at peace with an instrumental – and what happened to the idea of keeping rappers out of this “blueprint?”
Even the raunchy “Hot Sex,” whose title obviously indicates something much different, includes a bunch of naughty joke-tellers and closes out on a high note with the sweet sounds of pornography sweating through the speakers. Eyebrow-raising at its best (or just something to make your roommates in the other room jealous).
Aside from the streets and children laughing throughout “Full Moon,” the most noteworthy tracks on Chamber Music remain infiltrated by the usage of emcees over the production of Blueprint. “Is this what Jimmy felt when ‘Purple Haze’ was penned, Strumming the strings not knowing where the tunnel would end, I’ve learned some things, I’ve seen where karma bends, and that cliff where life and sacrifice blends,” Illogic raps on “Sacrifice,” one of the highest moments on BP’s album.
Elsewhere, the Cannibal Ox-less Vast Aire shreds the horns and tambourines of “Small World, Big Plans,” while Hangar 18’s WindnBreeze freaks the peaceful sounds of “Pendulum Master,” with Blueprint enlisting a flock of seagulls and slow droning piano strokes for nearly 8 full minutes. Aesop Rock even swings through for his usual abstract lesson over the spacey melodies of “Encounter.”
Blueprint may not have intended the creation of beats for rappers to rap to, but that is where Chamber Music finds its strengths. So even though, in the words of BP, “This album will dark – my next one will be brighter,” keeping the emcees around longer for the next one would not hurt either.