Producer Nice Rec, whose tag you may have seen affixed to tracks by any number of Pittsburgh rappers and singers, goes the solo route with September’s Drink The Blue Sky.
The album’s Bandcamp page features a quote from Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, a dystopian novel whose story revolves around the inhabitants of a totalitarian state that predetermines individuals’ actions through the use of equations and formulas. In light of the Facebook Papers’ revelations about the almighty algorithm‘s ability to shape human attitudes and behaviors, Zamyatin’s work seems prescient. In an increasingly rigid world, Drink The Blue Sky, full of glassy tones that waft around ticking percussion, hits like a refreshing, unquantized breeze. “Cold Blood,” a wavering pool of sound that blends hip-hop and futuristic jazz styles, glides along the boundary between form and aura, the track’s meandering bass line and steady snare clicks serving as anchors for a haunting melodic haze punctuated by magic wand synth flourishes. Despite “Cold Blood”s reptilian title, the music is as warm and inviting as a beachside hot tub.