Sunday 7 May 2023

Bandcamp Friday - May

Reporting in with this month's offerings. I thought it was going to be a little thin on the ground as I didn't have much lined up, but I managed to get some done in time. In a surprise twist, it also features a fair amount of new releases too! Let's take a look.

Kicking things off with some DMX Krew - Ed from DMX pretty consistently drops New releases to the point where it can be tricky to keep up. I heard the first track from Return To Jupiter when it was up for pre-orders and I knew then I'd get my hands on it soon enough. This is Ed's second release on Peggy Gou's Gudu Records, the first being the equally nice Don't You Wanna Play? EP. It seems to be that when DMX makes stuff for this label he switches focus to pure instrumental, there's no cheeky playful vocal as seen on some other DMX releases here. The title track is the one that sold me - it very clearly takes heavy inspiration from Underground Resistance, especially the Galaxy 2 Galaxy material. The end result is this fine slice of retro-futuristic techno, bouncy and airy, it's a lot of fun to listen to.

Next up is Yaga, yet another artist that until now I'd only really had bits and pieces from scattered across miscellaneous compilations. My experience up until this point was mainly bits from Rhythm Of Snow - all pretty minimal, at the border of my taste in the genre, anything further is a bit too minimal for me. I don't remember exactly how Faded Photographs came onto my radar, but I do remember being entranced by the one preview track at the time No Matter What.

Now, having spent a fair bit of time with the whole album, I can happily confirm the rest is very much in the same vein. I've seen a lot of discussion from fans of Yagya saying that this vocal-oriented shift he's taken isn't for them, but I quite like it, granted it is my first real experience with it beyond his older works.

It's an album that is pretty antithetical to my listening habits, my usual MO is a set of speakers and my entire collection on shuffle all at once. Faded Photographs by comparison is a much more intimate experience, one that benefits greatly from immersing yourself completely in it. I was a little on the fence about it until I threw on a set of headphones and listened to it front-to-back, it all flows together in a lovely way.

That said, there are still tracks that stand alone, my favourite still being No Matter What, but I'm really liking the whole thing, you can spend a lot of time picking out the delicacies on repeat listens and I just adore the moments of melodic vocal flourishes. It can end up sounding a little same-y in parts, but I'd definitely give it a spin if you're in the mood for some quieter, introspective listening.

Third is a compilation I'd had my eyes on for a while, one I'd assumed wouldn't be available digitally due to the label, Musik Aus Strom, being defunct. Turns out it was revived in 2022 by one of the founders and has almost all its back catalogue available, with more planned to come!

The compilation in question, the punnily titled MAS Confusion is a goldmine of lesser known IDM vendors and if you're a fan of then sound, especially around the early 00's when this compilation released then it is certainly worth checking out. There are some early highlights: the opening track from Metamatics that I've talked about before is beautiful, and Adamn Johnson's tracks are almost perfect encapsulations of what makes the 'IDM' sound. My choice for today though is Xela's Streetlevel, a lovely bit crushed nostalgia trip that also embodies all things IDM. Xela has a pretty extensive list of releases too, if you like this one I highly recommend For Frosty Mornings And Summer Nights for more in the same style (in addition to the rest of this compilation of course!)

Finally, a last minute addition in Sachi Kobayashi. It's been a little while since I picked up any ambient, so I went looking through my past purchases to check up on some artists. I'd only had a couple EPs from Sachi Kobayashi, but I very much liked them all - turns out there'd been plenty of releases between mow and the last time I checked in so I was a little spoilt for choice. I went one up from where I last checked in, Weathervane, a release inspired by the surviving Weathervane after the Notre Dame fire. For me, Kobayashi is at her best on tracks like Symbol, very roomy soundscapes with a hint of melody carrying throughout. A lovely closer to the experience, Weathervane is an ideal jumping in point for Kobayashi's work and it is currently 'name your price' over on Bandcamp, so there is no price barrier to entry if you enjoy it.

And that'll be all for today, so much for 'thin on the ground' after all eh? Part of me is considering doing a full review of the Yagya LP, but I also put most of my thoughts into this post here (hence the length!). At any rate, I hope you've found something to pique your interest here in this slightly eclectic selection. I'll drop by again with more in due time but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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