Saturday 7 May 2022

The Final(?) Friday - Part One

Hasui Kawase - Starlit Night, Miyajima (1928)

Hey there, it's been a while - apologies ofr the slight delay, the first half of this week got a little chaotic. But I am here now, and I bring the results of what may be the last ever Bandcamp Friday - it's hard to tell, the statement from the start of this year only lists them happening until May, but I suppose time will reveal all. I've had an exceptional run with them since they started running them though, and it's been a nice nudge to pick up some music once a month or so. We'll save that talk for later though, there is a lot of stuff to go through this time so I am going to split it into a couple (or more) parts. So, let's get stuck right in.

Some Garoad first off - you might have seen me talk at length about my love of their soundtracks for VA-11 Hall-a, the two were a match made in heaven and complimented each other nigh perfectly. From My Star To Yours is cut from the same cloth, if you were at all a fan of those OSTs you will immediately find common ground here. I have a lot of love for the sound here, it's retro 80's infused electronic without getting too deep into Synthwave territory, Garoad's inspirations lie elsewhere if the artwork didn't tip you off already - From My Star To Yours is very cinematic in its execution, like it's an insert song from an 80's Space Opera OVA (hence the artwork!), lavished with synth noodling and power chords and the mandatory of-the-era guitar riffs, and even an extended outro reprising the main motif on piano - all that's missing is the vocal accompaniment to complete that vibe. It's been a long time since Garoad released anything, I'm more than happy to hear more from them and am hoping there is more in the pipeline, as someone who is a big fan of the soundtrack of Bubblegum Crisis, I welcome any and all artists bringing back this style.

We're sticking in that same vein for the time being though, both the retro and Japanese influences. Enter Macross 82-99, who is still going strong all these years later. 82-99 first caught my ear with their unique blend of the kind of House that brought me here to this site in the first place, with a hearty helping of anime fandom for good measure (if the name Macross and the title of this release didn't make that obvious enough already). On the early mixtape releases this was twinned with vaporwave so it was a perfect macth for me circa 2012 when I was getting deep into that kind of thing.

I can understand it feeling gimmicky to some, (hell, I even thought as much when I was first exploring their work, chalk it up to my expeirnece with a ton of one-off vaporwave acts) but Macross is still going strong to this day, with Sailorwave III releasing just a couple months ago. Despite the name this isn't a Sailor Moon bootleg remix album, but the latest in a string of sequels to the albums that made Macross so popular in the first place. I've chosen That Music thing time around, purely because it transported me back to that time in my life when I first met Macross - cast your mind back to the Summers of the early 2010s, and think of the French Touch stuff that we used to post around that time - that's That Music, a little nostalgic sprinkle of sunshine. I don't dip my feet into the world of Future Funk often anymore, but I can always count on 82-99 for tracks like this.

Speaking of nostalgia, some Au Revior Simone next (and also another case of me misplacing something so picking it up again). The Bird Of Music is another record steeped in memories for me, again from around that same era. Not to get too sentimental or anything - I was heading off to University and my go-to convo starter for those first few awkward weeks was to get talking music. There was a bit of crossover with some (after all I think students are legally required to listen to Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada when entering University!), and acts like Au Revior Simone were there to bridge the gap where there wasn't, so both this album and Still Night, Still Light were instrumental in that.

I tended to lean a little more towards this one for suggestions at the time as it's a little more folky in parts which I thought made it more accessible for some - Fallen Snow was one that I remember suggesting a lot, I think it balances that folk style with the electronics quite well. I liked Still Night more at the time, but coming back to this one after all this time I've gained new appreciation for it, somehow I always end up remembering the slower tracks more and completely forgetting that the album also has tracks like Dark Halls on it as well which has been a welcome return to my library. Its been a while since I've had some good energetic electropop, even if it's not techically 'new'.

As mentioned in the opener, this is only a portion of my pickups for this month, so stay tuned for part 2 and maybe more after that too. This one managed to be fairly sonically consistent, the next one(s) might get a little bit more eclectic but should prove very interesting as well, one I might even spin off into my first new 'review' in who knows how long. Things have quieted down again so shouldn't be too long until the next one, until then, as alawys - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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