Enemy Earth Bardo

Enemy Earth experienced a metamorphosis heading into its second album. Where 2009's Interstellar Commute was the work of a young producer named Recor, alone with a sampler, creating Eastern- and exotica-influenced hip-hop collages, Bardo is the realization of his influences. Bolstered by live guitar and piano, Bardo is far less repetitive than its predecessor, adding a ton of nuance and intrigue to Recor's psychedelic sound, now a mesmerizing mix of hi- and lo-fi, of desolation and wonder. The individual compositions are far less beat-driven and obvious, while the transitioning between tracks and blending of samples, effects and recordings are ethereally seamless. Static and record pops and acousmatic samples contrast rich, reverberant piano and virtuosic guitar that sound like they were both performed at an epic '70s prog-rock concert. The warmth of analog gear and instrumentation runs through the record, yet the layers of hum and fizzle make it seem distant, like a fading memory. Interstellar Commute was certainly a competent release, but Bardo is an immersive experience. (Eat Concrete)