Rasky Sadagr Reviews
Black Light Smoke
“The Early Years” is a retrospective of Black Light Smoke’s formative beginnings. Written mostly in 2010, before Black Light Smoke was a dance music name. These songs reflect a period of unfiltered creativity and adventure in the artist’s development. Not bound to any genre, this album begs for repeated listens to uncover the aural mysteries of disparate worlds. The production of The Early Years involved trashy guitar amps, obscure pedals, unconventional recording techniques, and the warm hiss and warble from 4 track cassette recording.
The tracks “123456789” and “Celeste” feature heavily overdubbed guitars and vocals, clearly My Bloody Valentine inspired. “The Figure” is an eerie piano and vocal ballad describing the last moments of someone’s life. The track that comes closest to dance music is “Black Light Smoke”, (which actually inspired the artists name), featuring the wobbly synth line of a Juno106. Overall, this records is a dive into the artists deep mind and emotions, expressed in beautiful noise and overlapping melodies. Black Light Smoke first teamed up with Cut Mistake Music in 2012 to release his album “Thriller” under the alias John Hughes Daydream. Together again to release “The Early Years”, the artist and label owner Connor Whiriskey completed mixes for the album in Nashville during the 2017 solar eclipse.
Having gathered dust for nearly 10 years, the songs on this album tell a story of the artist’s past, as well the story of coming full circle to completion. Black Light Smoke is the electronic music moniker of Jordan Lieb - producer, songwriter, and Daytime Emmy Award winning film and tv composer. A Chicago native and child of 90s house music, Jordan transplanted to New York City in 2001, where his career as a multi-disciplined musician has taken flight in many forms. Black Light Smoke’s sound draws on house, techno, new wave and post-punk. His work has featured on Andrew Weatherall’s seminal Masterpiece mix series, and in Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2016 indie cult film ‘The Bad Batch’. Black Light Smoke has performed his unique live set around the globe.