This review is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Blooy: Carousel – Single – Sine Music – 2021
Genre: Electronic, Lo-Fi Hip-Hop, Chillout, Summer Sun Music
And again a Sine Music release is lying on my table, from the electronic label from Villigen-Schwennigen in the Black Forest, which is my favorite label to work with. The people behind it are great and the acts signed there are incredibly open-hearted – as an editor you’ll get any support you need without fuss, no request is lightly dismissed. The one or other label or even some PR agency from the German capital may like to take a leaf out of their book.
Blooy – the artist
Blooy aka Frank Wijn from Amsterdam in the Netherlands was born into the cradle of musicality as the son of the well known concert pianist Jan Wijn. After having been exposed to classics such as Chopin, Ravel or Saint-Saëns as a child, Frank began to develop a penchant for experimental jazz in his teenage years, which led him to start playing the drums. In the following years Frank joined the New Wave band “The Primrose Path” and took over vocals and drums.
The sometimes gloomy wave sound left a lasting impression on Frank and inspires him even to the present day. In the nineties a change to the house genre came up and together with the producer and composer Dorian Broekhuyse Frank realized some dancefloor projects. Arrived in the 21st century, the musical style was expanded in the direction of chillout, together with Dorian he brought forward the “Bardo State” project, where they internationally caused quite a stir with beautifully harmonious melancholic laid-back arrangements, somewhat located in Nu-Classical. Especially their interpretation of the David Bowie/Pat Metheny smash-hit”This is not America” from 2008 still sends goosebumps up and down my spine.
And then in March 2020, with the pandemic, the “Long Dark Ages” arrived. But instead of barricading himself at home and wallowing around, Frank took advantage of the time and launched his new solo project under the name “Blooy”. How did John Digweed so aptly say: “It’s a very good time to get productive in the studio. Make some great tracks and remixes, keep your fans updated with useful info on what you’re up to and stay the f–k indoors”.
Blooy’s heart beats for the musical experiment and with lo-fi hip-hop like on the new single “Carousel” he is of course preaching to the choir for me.
But let’s first briefly discuss what Lo-Fi in music actually is, because it might sound more audacious and stranger than it actually is.
The term Lo-Fi
Lo-fi refers to music that was either recorded with simple technical equipment or sounds as if the recording was made with such equipment.
The musical quality of the actual song is not affected by the recording process, therefore lo-fi is not synonymous with low-quality music. The studio equipment and electronic instruments used often do not correspond to the current state of technical development in the sense of a deliberately “retro” sound aesthetic (oriented to historical models).
Lo-fi hip-hop in particular is an exceedingly exciting thing to listen to.
Lo-fi hip-hop is understood to be (roughly from 2017) a sub-genre of hip-hop or electronic music that is stylistically located in the area of easy listening or chillout and includes both quiet, slow and relaxing music, which is also advertised as “study music” for listening in the background. This is called “beats to relax/study to” especially on numerous Youtube channels.
For numerous titles, the link with the aspect of technical simplicity can (but does not have to) consist in a rather noisy sound image and the impression of analog technology even in the sound generation. In addition to noise, the pitch can change in the manner of a magnetic tape with a non-constant forward speed.
Basically, the following measurements must be met for hip-hop: Hip-hop typically has speeds between 70 and 120 bpm, while house is faster at 110 to 140 bpm. The majority of all electronic hip-hop tracks are based on a 4/4 beat.
In “Carousel” the 4/4 beat is present, the BPM should be around 75, so “Carousel” is Lo-Fi hip-hop without a doubt.
The Single Carousel
Thankfully, Blooy completely dispenses with the previously mentioned Lo-Fi quirks, such as noise or LP crackling. According to Blooy, he uses a lot of lo-fi samples from a wide variety of recording sources, combined with retro synthesizers and lo-fi processing techniques in order to create the retro lo-fi sound. The track features Blooy on the melodica – a harmonica instrument that is made to sound by blowing into it and played over a keyboard, – but that has been sound modified to sound “wobbly” and slightly dissonant. And so you think you can hear a mellotron or even an accordion here and there.
Towards the end of the track Blooy enchants us once again with beautifully relaxed jazz guitar lines that bring back subtle memories of my old jazz fan times with Lee Ritenour & Co.
All in all, “the single “Carousel” is an extremely well done prime example of modern and intelligently arranged lo-fi hip-hop chillout sound and makes you hungry for more. Soon to follow is a second single from Blooy on Sine Music, followed by an EP and finally the album is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2022.
Carousel by Blooy – music to lean back and dream away, chilling – ideal for long train rides with music in the earphones, or for hot summer days in a shady spot in a lonely park – or for someone like me, when the temperature in my old attic apartment has once again risen above 30 degrees as today.
The Qobuz hi-res recording is available at 24 bit / 44.1 kHz and it shines with an enormously lively sound, precise highs that never have a hint of sharpness and a solid, deep bass range. From a technical point of view, nothing here is lo-fi at all, but rather excellent Hi-Res High-Quality Sound, almost predestined for headphone fans with excellent equipment.
Facts about Carousel by Blooy
Composer: D.F. Wijn
Label: SINE MUSIC
Genre: Electronic, Lo-Fi Hip-Hop, Chillout, Summer Sunny Music
Available at Qobuz in Hi-Res
24-Bit / 44.1 kHz – Stereo
Studio 1 (High End):
- 2 x System Audio SA Mantra 50 (front)
- 1x System Audio SA Mantra 10 AV (center)
- 2x System Audio SA Legend 5 (rear)
- 1 x System Audio Saxo 10 (subwoofer)
- 4 x Onkyo SKH-410 (B) (Dolby Atmos)
- Auralic Altair (audio streaming client with max. 32 bit / 384 kHz)
- NVIDIA Shield Pro with Plex, Kodi (max 192 kHz for Audio, Tidal (MQA Streaming Client)
- AppleTV 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Amazon Cube 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos (restricted), HDR, Dolby Vision
- Panasonic DP-UB9004 (4K UHD Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Oppo UDP-203 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Yamaha CX-A5100 (Preamp) 4K, Dolby Atmos, Hi-res
- Yamaha MX-A5000 (Power Amp)
- Sony KD-55A1 (TV) 4K OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision
Studio 2 (Near Field): Studio 3 (Consumer):
Studio 2 (Near Field):
Studio 3 (Consumer):