Multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer Joe Blassett's Chillin' Out In Dark Places is a difficult recording to categorize. While it has nice subtle rhythmic grooves in the background of every track, the material placed on top of the smooth waves is multihued, angled, and at times quite disjunct. The layering effect sometimes works well, but at other times the collages are difficult to discern.
On "Tell Me Something," for example, his saxophone calls out in short bursts while a single vocal male voice repeats the title. More ambient than directional, this tune doesn't seem to find its footing. On the flip side, "Help Me Pray" is a sweet menagerie of synthesizer washes, organ sounds, a nice laid back rhythmic beat, and electric piano chords that form, at times, polytonal counterpoint. While at times the overall effect is disconcerting, especially when the chords and synths clash, in the end the effect is more mystical than proportional and works on its own footing. The same kind of polytonal aspects reappear, to a lesser degree of success on "Better Days."
"Deep Dish Grind" is a more uptempo electronica blending of sounds, vocal and synthesized, and harmonies that fit together into a tapestry that congeals well. When the synthed acoustic piano enters the result is hipness personified. "Morning After," however, is not able to handle the mix of Philip Glass "Einstein On The Beach" inspired vocals, ostinato-ish lead synth part with the rhythmic groove quite as well.
While this music appears more intended to be sold to music licensing companies that supply movies with background music, like much of the music by saxophonist and keyboard conceptual artist Rick Keller, Blessett still fashions a few really nice ambient jazz tracks.