Laptop electronic or “lap-tron” songwriters have long endured a certain stigma. Composing their tunes solo, typically from the comfort of their own bedrooms, and almost never performing them before a live audience, they make you wonder: How much talent do you really need to rejigger a computer program’s pre-assorted loops and notes?
Bryan “Boom Bip” Hollon probably didn’t intend his new Blue Eyed in the Red Room to settle any old scores regarding the bedroom producer’s legitimacy. But Blue Eyed—which leans much deeper into ambient electronica than Hollon’s hip-hop beatbox debut Seed to Sun—pegs him as a nimble architect of texture and melody, chiseling experimental forms into something refined. Delicate, tinkling notes flutter like chimes in “Girl Toy,” and in a startlingly bare hymn called “The Matter of (Our Discussion),” Nina Nastasia channels Cat Stevens into an unapologetic look at the difference between feeling lonely and being alone. When Nastasia croons “I don’t believe in the power of love,” it feels like an unromantic valentine for our digital age: You can almost hear the whisper of the lap-tron composer, suggesting that a little solitude isn’t so bad, after all.