Black Malachite is a solo project from Southern California that has been actively putting out music since July 2016. The project has released three EPs, and three albums, with the self-titled one being the latest effort. Black Malachite musically is a dynamic mix of styles and genres all rooted in a mix of Electronic and Classical influenced music. This instrumental project does quiet-loud, but they don’t necessarily get quiet or loud when or how you expect them to. The intertwining guitars – both acoustic and electric – and bass, plus the impassioned drumming pumps the blood through the body, but attention is also turned to building atmospheric layers and electronic programming.
Over the course of their albums and EP’s, Black Malachite has obviously developed and mastered a style that puts the project in a perilous position in 2016. They know what works, with their music shining a light on the cinematic capabilities of their instrumentals.
Huge emotional payoffs, soaring climaxes, songs that take their time to reach a peak but never deny a payoff: these seem to be Black Malachite’s trademarks. But in the manner of anyone who conquers a field, it’s not surprising that the band try and elaborate on that theme with this self-titled album..
Indeed, the album “Black Malachite” re-imagines the calling cards of the band. All, that is, except for one: Black Malachite still knows how to craft a beautiful atmosphere that demands to soundtrack something. It doesn’t necessarily require a visual accompaniment, but it stimulates the imagination. In a word, the music is transportive.
“These Highways Belong To Us” wastes no time kicking into high acoustic gear, using its middle for a snare-riding breath of air, unafraid to tease a single emotional swell for a full three minutes. “Crimson Dream” lives up to its name by dwelling for half its length in a floating clean electric-guitar ambience, less building than existing, and stoically never giving way to a driving rhythm.
Juxtaposing this with the album’s up-tempo EDM banger, “Liquid Dreams” and the post-rock noise of “Dark Love”, puts the emotional range of Black Malachite on full display.
In elaborating into the unknown, more possibilities have been uncovered by Black Malachite – the beautiful and poignant piano melody of “Her”, the funky bass thumping on “Sunset Sky”, or the cinematic ambience of “The Taker Pt.II”. Huge emotional payoffs are reached without requiring long songs to do it.
Only one song goes above the 5 minute mark, which is unusual for an instrumental album. But with attention spans waning, and the listeners’ needs for instant gratification ever more real, Black Malachite is quick to oblige.
At some point or another on this album, Black Malachite has conveyed some sort of superlative. They can conjure serenity and excitement in the same bar; the majestic and the gentle; the sublime and the cerebral; as well as the organic and the electronic.