Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from ex-tech, black smokers, and ITCHY ROTTEN.
Another 3 marvelous wonders to peruse in this edition, all with a focus on texture and experimentation: here, have a listen!:
ex-tech – Double Tape
Double Tape is one of the more interesting experimental pieces I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in some time. It revolves around one main song – a sound collage of repitched and digitally processed tape player samples – that is used as the framework to create an all-encompassing, holistic expression of the tape player as instrument, producer, and recorder. First, the main song is performed live (“double-tape-live”); this piece is then recorded back onto the tape player from which it originated and replayed to form the work’s second movement, “double-tape-rec”, described on the release page as “the tape player’s ‘performance’ of its own composition”. The two tracks reflect and refract each other like funhouse mirrors – details obscured in one move to the forefront of the other, and vice versa. The live piece is shadowy, ghost-like: a pale shade that flits though dark spaces; the recorded piece, on the other hand, is much more grounded and earthy, blanketing the ears with lush, supple pads and warm percussive dewdrops. With a concept as heady as Double Tape’s, one runs the risk of the hype and intrigue outweighing the actual content at hand; but, happily, in this work, both content and concept are complementary, creating a worthwhile whole that is very proudly the sum of its parts.
Pair with: your favorite cassette tape (to be admired, lovingly, from a distance); water-soluble packing peanuts
Favorite track: “double-tape-rec”
black smokers – 02022020
A short series of deep, tunneling ambient explorations from Russia (cutely tagged “superslowsonicattackfromrussia”) that are as difficult to write conclusively about as they are pleasurable to experience, with each track stretching guitar, synthesizer, and foley sounds out into abyssal plains of abstracted, vibrant harmony. The palindromic title holds something of a key to the work itself; it digs down into the soil, then claws itself back out again, creating a resonant, restless circle. Some of the textures and musical structures on display in 02022020 will certainly be familiar to those well-acquainted with ambient music, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been put to good use here; they feel more like black smokers’ acknowledgement of the wider canon of their genre than they do lazy or overly referential callbacks. The perfect soundtrack to your next meditation session.
Pair with: bubbles in blue dream; the elusive scent of yoga mats
Favorite Track: “8-4-1”
ITCHY ROTTEN – grey majique
Skin-crawling San Antonio IDM bangers possessed with the righteous fury of a thousand suns, slathered heartily in anxious crescendos of frenetic, stomping breakbeats. Music for panic rooms and the last hour of the night shift. grey majique’s nine tracks aim to confuse and galvanize; they tap you on one shoulder, then appear, cackling, beside the other. The raw, driving energy of this record leaves almost no room to breathe; if you can make that vibe work for you, however, you’ll be treated to one of the best songs of the year in “cypto”. Kind of like if Clark’s discography was host to an infestation of silverfish. Contains oodles of certified Secat Shiver Moments (which are the most important way to rate an album, of course).
Pair with: instant espresso crystals placed directly on tongue; gary busey
Favorite Tracks: “stardd shit (sync up gen)”, “ai incantation”, “cypto”, “10 mind cunts”
Hope at least one of these tickles your fancy; hope even more that all three of them do. I’ll see you next go-around!
Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at secatsecat.home.blog.