Best Album of the Past 12 Months (2008)

Blank Blue, 'Western Water Music Vol. II'

When Elvin Estrella (a.k.a. DJ Nobody) asked Niki Randa, his co-worker at Fingerprints, to lend her vocal talents to his expertly constructed tracks, Blank Blue was born. Western Water Music Vol. II reflects the element in its title, featuring Randa's ethereal, smooth vocals over Estrella's shimmering, pulsating, ebb-and-flow production. The whole thing washes over the listener like tides, as various sonic flourishes bob to the surface, and then sink down in the mix again, making this the ultimate headphone album, one that's best appreciated while lying on one's back in the ocean. Simultaneously psychedelic and grounded, Western Water Music Vol. II is the most distinguished local release of the year.


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