Since 2006, it’s felt like production duo Blue Sky Black Death has been looking for a voice for their instrumentals. In addition to releasing mostly vocal-free albums filled with lush epics that sounded like they were soundtracking every fantasy movie ever made, they also dragged semi-forgotten rappers back into the music world—first with the abstract Wu-Tang affiliate Holocaust, later with another Wu-Tang outlier Hell Razah and underground mainstay Jean Grae. They worked with singers as well, and while all these projects produced often good, or at the very least interesting results, it always felt like they hadn’t quite hit on the proper voice for their projects. In 2011, they began working with Seattle artist Nacho Picasso, an often hilarious, idiosyncratic rapper who seems to love weed and comic books more than anything else. The projects they did with him are fun listens, but often his subject matter feels too lighthearted for the brooding worlds Blue Sky Black Death have dedicated their entire careers to creating. Maybe it’s why Cliff of Death with Deniro Farrar works so well. Farrar’s voice is an eerily calm rasp that never leaves the emotional range of fuming mad. Cliff of Death feels like an update on early Three 6 Mafia, only instead of post-John Carpenter synths being drawn out into seven-plus minute horror rap epics, BSBD, wrap strings and tense keys around Farrar’s voice for an unrelentingly dark listen. It’s a testament to the chemistry these guys have together that this doesn’t get stale. Hopefully there’s more to come.
Stream Blue Sky Black Death and Deniro Farrar, Cliff of Death