Originally hailing from Cincinnati, Boom Bip (born Bryan Charles Hollon) is a notable American musician who made his name as an underground hip-hop producer in the early 2000s, but has since successfully branched out into various styles of rock and electronic music. His music is often created using live instrumentation rather than samples or loops, and his full-band live performances have taken place at numerous festivals, including Coachella and Glastonbury. He has remixed and collaborated with dozens of artists ranging from Four Tet and Lali Puna to Snow Patrol and Peter Bjorn and John, and he has particularly received acclaim for Neon Neon, his collaboration with Super Furry Animals vocalist Gruff Rhys.
After playing in several bands during high school, Hollon became a DJ in 1993 while attending college in Cincinnati. Offbeat turntablist methods gradually raised his profile, and his 1998 12" The Low End Sequence, an EP of jazzy, abstract hip-hop instrumentals in collaboration with DJ Osiris, was the first release on Mush Records. Two years later, the label released Circle, Boom Bip's full-length collaboration with Anticon-affiliated MC Doseone. The album was an outstanding, highly experimental work that tested the boundaries of hip-hop and gradually accumulated a cult following. Boom Bip began releasing Doo Doo Breaks, a series of LPs intended for DJs, on Mush in 2000, but he moved to Warp's newly minted hip-hop imprint Lex (which remained affiliated with Warp until 2005) for his subsequent work.
Boom Bip's proper solo debut, Seed to Sun, arrived on Lex in 2002. The album mainly consisted of melodic, intricate instrumentals, but also featured guest raps by Buck 65, Dose One, and Nacky Koma. The album was followed by two EPs, From Left to Right and Morning and a Day, which featured new songs as well as remixes by Boards of Canada, Venetian Snares, Mogwai, and others. Both EPs, as well as tracks from a session recorded for John Peel's radio show, were compiled on the 2004 CD Corymb. Boom Bip's next solo album, 2005's Blue Eyed in the Red Room, moved further away from his hip-hop beginnings, consisting almost entirely of live instrumentation and featuring guest singers Nina Nastasia and Gruff Rhys.
Following production work on Busdriver's 2007 full-length RoadKillOvercoat, Boom Bip released Sacchrilege, a five-track EP of bright, uptempo electro-influenced dance tracks. Hollon continued this direction with Neon Neon, a project with Gruff Rhys sparked by their prior collaboration on Blue Eyed in the Red Room. The duo released two singles in 2007 ("Raquel" and "Trick for Treat"), followed by the full-length Stainless Style, a fascinating collection of '80s throwback electro and new wave that was loosely inspired by the life of car designer John DeLorean. The album was well-received, earning a nomination for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.
Boom Bip returned to the solo ranks in 2011 with Zig Zaj, a more rock-centric album that featured guest appearances by members of Franz Ferdinand, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Empire of the Sun, and others. The following year, Boom Bip collaborated with visual artist Charlie White on Music for Sleeping Children, an amusing, touching EP of songs built around samples of interviews with adolescent girls. Boom Bip and Gruff Rhys then regrouped for a second Neon Neon album, Praxis Makes Perfect, inspired this time by Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. The album appeared in April of 2013, and featured narration by Asia Argento as well as vocals by Cate Le Bon and Italian pop star Sabrina Salerno. This was followed in April of 2014 by Years of Lead, a limited vinyl-only EP released on Record Store Day. ~ John Bush & Paul Simpson