Friday 7 January 2022

What's New?

I was hoping to make the first post of 2022 all new stuff or at least a good 60-40 at least. I don't think I've managed to even hear anything new yet come to think of it, but I also haven't really been trying too hard either as I get back into the swing of working again. With no word on Bandcamp Fridays for 2022 either I am going to have to try a little harder to come up with stuff it seems! So I had an idea instead, what if I went back and talked about the first things I got off Bandcamp instead? And so here we are.

Juan Gris - La Guitare (1913)

Predictably, a lot of my early purchases were indie soundtracks. BC is still a goldmine for that sort of thing, and it's a really great resource to not only support the artists in question but also get high quality versions of the sounds too - sometimes the soundtracks included on the Steam releases are 192 or VBR. Enter Faster Than Light, better known as just FTL. One of those releases from the golden age of indie games; those small ideas that spin out into something relentlessly addictive, with the added bonus of being able to run on your office-quality PC to boot. Part of what makes the FTL experience so iconic is the soundtrack from Ben Prunty - he makes spectacular use of recurring motifs throughout that really enhance the experience. I had to put the OST away for a while after playing the game for so long, but I'd be lying if I said I ever grew to dislike it. Rather than a deep cut I've gone for what I think best summarises this, one of the earliest tracks in the game - the 'Battle' variation of the MilkyWay theme: Gorgeous and suitably spacey. It doesn't quite sound the same without the pew pew of lasers and the occasional chunk of a missile launch though!

My next few trips were similarly influenced, a couple of fan works related to some series I enjoyed. Echochamber's I'm Real, I'm Here has a lot of influence taken from Serial Experiments Lain, a surreal, psychological exploration into the world of the technological circa 1998 - parts of which have only become more apt with time. But I don't mean to put you off, you can very much enjoy this album without knowing a thing about the series - besides the cover art and some samples there's no super deep cuts that you need to be a fan of to recognise. I'm Real, I'm Here is a bit of an odd record - it leaps from genre to genre over the course of it's runtime, it could be thudding minimal-esque house one minute, and then change gears to long vaporwave-y drones the next. Thought I'd split the difference this time around and post Symbols, Figures And Blurred Faces as it effectively merges those two sides of the album; an almost Burial style experience, it's made up of a bunch of short 'sketches' that run between a whole bunch of styles. A great little summary of the album in one track, if you like this then I would strongly recommend checking out the full thing.

Funnily enough actually, my next Bandcamp purchase was in fact the Burial track I had in mind when making that comparison above. After playing the hell out of an MP3 of the B-Side to Truant since my University days I figured I at least owed the man a couple of quid. Rough Sleeper is almost a quarter of an hour tour de force of Burial, it might be my ultimate favourite from his extensive back-catalogue. I struggle to pin down the section I like the most as it changes pretty often, the intro is lovely but I also have a real love for the almost Garage bit that starts around the 4 minute mark (which I will hold my hands up and admit is more than a bit influenced by my love of treated vocals). That section is by far and away the longest, and the way it fades away into that little ambient break around the 9:25 mark is lovely (that section is my current love!) Before rounding off with some proper 2-step around 10:45. It's a lot to take in, but aside from the sudden stop at the end I have no complaints. Not sure I'd recommend it for a new listener to Burial, but if you like the first couple of minutes you would do well to take a look at his whole discography.

And I think that'll do it for today. I hope 2022 has been treating you all well, mine's had a bit of a rocky start, but after the last year or so it's hardly a big deal. Either way, you can count on me to be here with more musical musings on a semi-regular basis - hope you've enjoyed this look back at my digital catalogue and as always - Stay safe and enjoy the music.


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