The first time I listened to Channel Orange, I knew that Frank Ocean was three levels ahead of his contemporaries. The whole work blew me away. It was enthralling. Each track deserves its own recognition and praise, but “Pyramids” is what “Back to Black” was for Amy Winehouse. Pure, raw artistry. It’s a true gem of a track and one hell of a story. It’s Ocean’s opus, really, and his production skills are on fire. The moment the chimes and rocking beat drop out and in drops a huge filthy synth melody is his shining star. I remember hearing it for the first time and immediately stopping what I was doing, threw my hands up and screamed “Yass honey yass!” That moment — those brief ten seconds are what sold me on Frank Ocean.
I’ve spent a good couple of months searching, waiting, hoping for a remix of “Pyramids” to surface. There were a couple, but they never really worked with those ten seconds, the one part that mattered to me. It’s such a unique and unexpected moment that Ocean was smart to ruin too much of a good thing and continue it through the whole ten minutes, but it also had such potential for a remix. And just as I was about throw up my hands (for a different reason now) and resign my hope Chicago based duo, The Hood Internet, drops this heavy hitter in my lap and twirl away (well, at least I imagine they’d twirl away).
This track is op-u-lence (say that while clapping on each syllable please). I doubted the title, but right out of the gate comes Ocean’s brightest moment guns hot. In a way only The Hood Internet can do, Purity Ring’s hauntingly dark “Belispeak” jives with Ocean’s powerhouse beat. Megan James’ ethereal voice floats as the music pounds through us. I’ve always thought there was something sexy about the dissonance of the melody James sings. I can’t place my finger on the word, but I’ve always pictured a Lolita-looking twentysomething girl teasing someone over her sunglasses. I digress. The two worlds of Ocean and Purity Ring merge so elegantly that you’d think it was the original version. They sound made for each other. It’s a perfect sonic marriage.
What’s so solid about this track is The Hood Internet’s approach to the mash-up. We all know that putting a bunch of tracks together that have a relatively similar beat works (those year end pop mixes, anyone?), but it’s to hear something like this. This mash-up is only two tracks, one instrumental and the other vocal layered on top of one another. They work in harmony like a soul mates. It’s something that only The Hood Internet can do; something like proving you don’t need fifteen tracks to make an incredible mash-up.