This is a tough one – I’d much rather rave about something inspiring than disparage the product of someone’s hard work simply because I find the genre a bit umm, irrelevant. It’d be ridiculously easy (and sadly accurate) to dismiss this debut cd from enterprising 23 year old Chuck Blazevic as trite and clichéd instrumental music of the “trip hop” variety (egads). On the other hand, it’s clear Blazevic takes his music quite seriously, has put a short lifetime’s worth of thought into this release, and has packaged it all with care. But within the uber care given to this recording and its packaging lies the rub – it’s all so incredibly careful, so perfectly executed that it lacks any personality, any soul, any oomph. So yeah, let’s go ahead and credit the kid for his work ethic, for his obvious passion about this music. Five points there. Let’s take away another point for the liner notes, which go to great length to describe the sounds (“Forward looking but backwards facing…. This is music for music lovers”), yet only succeed in implicating the creator’s lack of humility. Four points so far.
Now on to the product at hand – the music. First off, the ingredients: sampled beats (take your pick – slow n’ jazzy, midtempo, breakbeats, they’re all here) sampled orchestral strings, the scratch of old vinyl, keyboard loops, arpeggiated piano licks, clichéd melancholy moods. Next: stir into a mixed mashup of tracks ranging from buoyant to moody in tone. Finally, package it all together with clever title, play repeatedly in your local martini bar, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the early 90’s all over again. Me? I have no need to revisit those days. Two solid listens to this record and I was ready to scream in pain. It’s all just too clever and self-referentially hip, too perfectly assembled. I guess if you’re still intrigued by jazzy hiphop instrumental music, trip-hop, or similar genres, there’d be some value here. There are a few moments of dissonance that almost (yet not quite) qualify as interesting. I suspect there are plenty of young urban professionals happy to listen to the soft pleasant sounds of 90s down-tempo music and reassure themselves they’re as cool as the next guy. At least it doesn’t rely on preset samples and midi nonsense.
Ultimately, all we can do is hope Blazevic finds his audience. He’s trying pretty darned hard, and I give him some credit for that. It’s not a thrown-together record, and if I were at all open to his particular genre exercises, I might toss a few more points his way. At the end of the day, you could say this is an all-too careful, mannered, and “pleasant” instrumental record for those hip moods when you want to impress a date with your smooth tastes. Or you could be more accurate and just call it the bland, trite cocktail party music it is. On the plus side, Blazevic oughtta get some promos right on over to Madison Ave. – it’d be perfect for all those cool new television ads awaiting just the right music. In fact, let’s give it one more point for that, and call it a day at 5. 5/10 -- Eric Hardiman (11 March, 2009)