Blackbody Vol II is a collection of lackadaisical trip-hop for 5 am on a Sunday morning. As the titles implies, it is the second installment of a triptych of EPs by Glasgow three-piece The Lava Experiments. Indistinct, distant vocals can sometimes seem like the ballads of an exhausted world-weary traveler by a campfire, and other times the chanting of monks echoing from the dark ages. Indeed the music seems to inspire metaphor contrivation. The songs are usually formed with programmed drumbeats, Moog or Moog-like synthesizers, rich bass and sometimes gentle guitar.
The opening track, Piecing Memories Together, falls flat compared to its successors, over-repeating a guitar riff and a three note synth line that is so simple it’s almost childish. Unusual, then, that the band have chosen to follow up the release of Blackbody Vol II with an EP of remixes of this track. Perhaps the band saw that the song had the most potential to be improved upon.
Luckily, the following tracks, Sun Flies, River Shape and Ring to the Dark Place are a dramatic improvement with the hypnotic quality of well-crafted progressive trance. The drum beats are active but not obnoxious, and produced to sound unimposing. Album closer The Release even brings an element of rock and roll to the mix, with a distorted guitar riff and a muscley electric bassline.
Overall, Blackbody Vol II is good music to have in your collection to have for when the right mood strikes (even if it is at 5 am). Although you might have to skip to the second track.