Bandcamp Roulette: Randaru, Meltway, ChXnSxCh

Bandcamp Roulette: Randaru, Meltway, ChXnSxCh

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from Randaru, Meltway, and ChXnSxCh.


Randaru — À SUIVRÈ / SYNK

Minimal, sticky, glossy tech house from Ukraine: a dark dancefloor submerged in Vaseline. Both tracks on this release, despite their subdued sonic palettes—a deep, cavernous bass thwob here, a clicking percussive skeleton there—make the absolute most of their time, and Randaru does a pitch-perfect job at controlling their pacing and evolution. Like crumpled origami placed in water, the mood swells, unfolds, bursts; sultry vocal samples and warbling sine waves echo brightly, tall, lit lampposts that signal to one another from across canyons of darkness. There’s not much in these songs to anchor yourself to; they function more like abysses. You descend, and you descend; up becomes an impossibility.

Pair with: ill-advised spelunking expeditions; making slow, soapy circles with your mop on the linoleum

Favorite track: “synk”


Meltway – Everytime

Wistful, shoegaze’d dreamy Danish indie pop, with all the familiar elements you might expect from such a genre combination: wafer-thin, unintelligible vocals, heavy reverb, guitars drenched in feedback, and so on and so forth. In spite of this seeming predictability, Everytime carries with it some certain ineffable quality that makes it a genuinely exciting, euphoric listen; you know this sound, but you know not where it will take you. There’s a distinct forward motion to each track, and Meltway is never mired down with the worthless noodling or flat, unchanging dynamics that tend to detract from the projects of their peers. “All killer, no filler” feels almost inappropriate to say for something of this genre, but it’s the most apt note for what Everytime delivers. Kick up your feet; you will remain entertained.

Pair with: fresh carnival cotton candy; partially-filled ashtrays

Favorite tracks: “Strangers Dream”, “From Blue”, “I Want to Forget”


ChXnSxCh – >°))))

The most interesting (so, naturally, the hardest to pin down semantically) project of this trio, >°​)​)​)​)​is a catalog of previously unreleased work from Los Angeles(?)-based artist ChXnSxCh. As one might expect from an archival release, the artist’s core folky, confessional sound veers chaotically through dozens of genre filters picked up and discarded over the years: Mezzanine-esque trip-hop, spoken-word tabla breakcore, moody post-punk; it’s a beautiful, puzzling snapshot of a lush musical life filled with fascinating pockmarks and idiosyncrasies. >°​)​)​)​)​ may not be the most stylistically unified album out there, but it’s all the better for it. Ultimately, I’m just thankful that it’s been given a platform; according to label THEJJC.ORG, ChXnSxCh’s work “would otherwise not exist on the Internet” were it not available here, and that’d be a damn shame.

…Also, the album cover is fucking RAD.

Pair with: butt-quality boxed wine; ankle socks with holes worn in the heels

Favorite tracks: “Dessicant Silicangel [DANGEROUS: DO NOT EAT]”, “ʻThe Proof’”, “jawmoansneon (Shakshouka)”


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

Bandcamp Roulette: illogical Compeuter, Tonopah Test, alopratos

Bandcamp Roulette: illogical Compeuter, Tonopah Test, alopratos

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from illogical Compeuter, Tonopah Test, and alopratos.

Welcome back! You know the drill, let’s jump right in:


illogical Compeuter – And Neptune

Two dimly lit, obscurant dub techno soundscapes that keep their cards close to their chests. Pared-down, echoing kick drums roughly cut their way through walls of murky analogue wobbles and stuttering, oddly chopped lo-fi samples; a room filled with smoke that forces you to crawl your way to the exit, coughing, sputtering. “A Dust of Stars in Heads” begins to offer the listener brief glimpses of light as calmer, brighter strokes of guitar and chiming cymbal brushes slowly invade the frame; but, ultimately, the full experience is oppressive, singular, and, most of all, excellent. Joy is overtaken; only grime remains.

Pair with: Liquid smoke (in the form of patented, space-age, out-of-this-world Moon Waffles); Interview with a cigarette

Favorite Track: “A Dust of Stars in Heads”


Tonopah Test – hypha

Tonopah Test offers a lot of titillating ideas in the accompanying press release for hypha – making claims, among others, that its 7 tracks were “harvested from the moldy walls of a dark and ancient file folder” and are capable of inducing “visions and psy-fi hallucinations” – from what I can gather, the album is conceptually meant to communicate the experience of traveling through a fungal network of mycorrhizae and encountering various fantastical landscapes along the way. The actual listening product offers many parallels to this central idea; the clanking, droning ambient backgrounds of each track, occasionally giving way to more hopeful, sparkling synth motifs that drift aimlessly in and out of the foreground, read to me as a meditation on fungal life, and on decomposition in all its forms – its capacity to destroy and create in equal measure. Things will always grow and die, but the soil will remain; and what is left behind must be consumed.

Pair with: Mushroom identification guides; fractal zoom videos

Favorite Tracks: “Looms”, “Stealing crumbs from the Giants”


alopratos – El perro del Verano

Discordant, reggaetón-inspired freakbeats for the afterparty after the afterparty – the one where everybody around you looks translucent, where you’re pretty sure you’re the only conscious person in the world. There’s an incredibly despondent, insular character to this album (made in the wake of the artist’s dog’s death, if the release page is to be believed) that leads to both pits and peaks, moments of triumph and incredible melancholy. The listener is permitted to explore every permutation of a headspace mired with grief: the bright spots, the washes of paralysis that move in like the tide, ebbing and flowing. The path to recovery occasionally reveals itself, but the mental roadblocks in the way manifest as dark, moody trenches of atonal recursion that eventually overtake each hopeful moment. The last track, “When the party’s over”, seems to be a (loose) cover of the Billie Eilish song of the same name – I wonder if it might represent how one can cling to music in dire straits, listening to the same things over and over, singing them to yourself when you can’t even find the will to press “play” – but, ultimately, that’s pure speculation. What’s important is that the release as a whole is evocative, inspiring the imagination; alopratos has done an excellent job at crafting a work that’s obviously personal, but still immediately understandable.

Pair with: Playing minesweeper alone in your bedroom; 2 lime White Claws at 1 A.M.

Favorite Track: “Transformer de playa”


Without really intending it, all three of these releases are somewhat similar in tone; well, try not to get too bummed out, O listener…

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

Bandcamp Roulette: ex-tech, black smokers, ITCHY ROTTEN

Bandcamp Roulette: ex-tech, black smokers, ITCHY ROTTEN

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 Spotlight: QT Spotlight: QT

Welcome to the very first Spotlight! Think of this feature as a companion to the Bandcamp Roulette pieces; here, I’ll be taking a look at weird, fantastical, and under-the-radar releases on, the premier creator-centric video game marketplace. Of course, video games are a lot harder to write about in a timely fashion than music, so, to save my sanity, this series will focus on just one release at a time. Today, I’ll be profiling QT by HappySnakeGames.


QT isn’t a very easy game to describe; or, at least, nothing you can say about it on paper feels particularly communicative of its essence, its essential vibe-liness. A screenshot will get you halfway there; a video will get you even closer:

But, you’ll only really understand when you’re playing the game for yourself. Put simply, QT is a small walking-sim charmbox where you can roam around and meet a bunch of friends. Sometimes, you can pet the friends; sometimes, the friends can be fed; what’s always consistent, though, is that every friend smiles at you. Constantly. Every single item and sprite in the game besides the walls, floors, and ceilings has the same soft, unerring grin, like this: · ◡ ·

Here, look at the object to your immediate right. Project a · ◡ · onto it. That’s what QT is like, OK? It takes some getting used to, and it’s an aesthetic that could easily read as cloying and obnoxious if you’re a more cynical consumer than I; at times it can feel almost dystopian, like you’ve had a set of VR goggles clamped onto your head that force you to perceive everything around you in as cute and inoffensive a manner as possible (and, hey, that’s kind of fun, too, isn’t it?). Ultimately, I found myself quite enjoying the overarching visual style; but, its distinctness and uniformity won’t be for everyone.

QT offers three unique little diorama worlds for you to peruse at your discretion: QT, the title game, a quirky spoof of the legendary horror demo P.T. by Kojima Productions, Museum, an area where you can smash priceless pottery with your bare hands and collect bronze Etruscan horses (all branded with a placid · ◡ · stare, of course), and, finally, Kouen, a pleasant Japanese mountain town full of smiling animals and infinitely stocked vending machines. Each world features strange, yelpy background music that I can only describe as a good-natured, occasionally grating cross between the Hypnospace Outlaw and Animal Crossing OSTs.

QT 1_28_2020 8_30_42 PM

Of these worlds, Kouen is certainly the most elaborate: it’s almost intimidatingly dense and huge, and even after wandering around its map a few times, I still don’t feel like I’ve seen more than half of what’s available to me. This amount of sheer detail is an example of the care and sincerity that elevates QT over being just another cute, virtual-dust-collecting distraction to stare at for half an hour and then abandon; its creators were clearly invested in cramming it chock-full of secrets, quirky in-jokes, and fun scavenger hunts. There are hundreds upon hundreds of unique, · ◡ · – faced sprites to find, and dozens more odd easter eggs scattered about each world. It’s not a perfectly made game – indeed, it can get pretty damn rough at times with sudden, inexplicable framerate drops – but it is a painstakingly made one, and I think that counts for quite a lot. If you’re even the slightest bit curious, it’s worth checking out.

Pair with: Gray’s Peak cola; the gaze of Braco; vewn animations


QT is available now for purchase and download here:

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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

Bandcamp Roulette: Cypher Sanctuary, randal b., Ghetto Henry

Bandcamp Roulette: Cypher Sanctuary, randal b., Ghetto Henry

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from Cypher Sanctuary, randal b., and Ghetto Henry.

Sumptuous sweets! Decadent delights! It’s a smörgåsbord of . . . uhm . . . symphonies! Today’s Bandcamp Roulette lunchbox is packed to the brim with delicious snack cakes and sandwiches! Enough preamble! Let’s get moving!


Cypher Sanctuary – Warrior Way

Warrior Way comes to us via one of my favorite record labels, Melbourne-based, who consistently release fantastic house/dance/techno projects (including one of the very best of 2018, park hye jin’s IF U WANT IT micro-LP). Cypher Sanctuary hails from Moscow and makes teeth-shattering darkwave-y industrial techno bops full of roomy thud and ample hi-hat simmer; Warrior Way steps on the gas from the opening kick and never lets go. It’s impressive how much variation Cypher Sanctuary pulls out of his overarching style here, which can appear a tad monochromatic at first ear-glance; these 6 tracks dip their toes in everything from vaporwave to IDM to downright saccharine pop-house and still come out as relentless and pulse-pounding as they came in. A triumphantly fun and intense half-hour full of darkness, light, and all that good stuff in between.

Pair with: the Nightman intro (2x speed); Monster Energy; acid-rainwater collected in plastic bucket

Favorite Tracks: “Red Ball Burn”, “Dark Shadow Creep”, “The Tree”


randal b. – Huett

Scratchy, undefined, and insular hip-hop instrumentals from Milwaukee that reach your headphones as though broadcast from a thousand miles away. Huett is possessed with a moving, graceful undercurrent of anxious fervor that propels it far beyond your typical “beats to study to” mix; it blends and recontextualizes recognizable genre signifiers into an immediately personal concoction brimming with love and dignity, building textural walls of jazzy, smeared lo-fi samples that duck and shrink from the kick drum as though wounded. The project starts and ends without discretion, almost as though you managed to briefly intercept an aural transmission of someone’s mental state; the signal is eventually lost, but the feeling, the intimacy, remains. A worthwhile (if brief) diversion from the outside world.

Pair with: ambient rain sounds; TV static; chocolate-covered coffee beans

Favorite Tracks: “mooncr*****”, “old dusty”, “rimnod”



Ghetto Henry – Ghetto Henry Vol. 1

Incredibly fat, syrupy, bass-laden ghetto tech from German record label Doom Chakra. This is music that fucks, and fucks hard; it should be played as loud as is humanly possible in your car. It is raw and explicit and boiling over with rump-shaking basement jam energy (with some pleasing detours into smooth, ambient pads and soulful vocal samples). If you can’t devote at least a few minutes of feverish dancing to this record, then DON’T PLAY IT AT ALL! Good material with which to meet your monthly head-banging quota. If you’re not at least a little sweaty and flushed when it’s done, then you weren’t listening right.

Pair with: PEPINO DE NOVO; quad-shot of espresso at 11 P.M.; sprawled out on concrete floor with unknown stain after furious windmilling

Favorite Tracks: “Bumpin’”, “Player Haters”, “Seven Dirty Words”, “Up & Down”


For my money, this edition happened to collect an especially strong selection of releases; I hope you agree, O listener. I’ll see you next time!

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

Bandcamp Roulette: Tunnel One, Agus Garcia, Midpoint Union

Bandcamp Roulette: Tunnel One, Agus Garcia, Midpoint Union

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from Tunnel One, Agus Garcia, and Midpoint Union.

Bandcamp Roulette is back on the lightwaves after a brief break! I’m easing back into the usual workflow with some short and sweet projects. Here, have a look:


Tunnel One – skattag

Of all the projects I’ve heard that self-describe as “braindance,” skattag might be the closest in sound to the kind of hypothetically fussy and intellectual music I audiate when I see the term. It’s awkward, uncanny, and unsettling – a barrage of intimidating, offset clickfuzz and halogen flares – it does very much feel like it is designed to be tapping into some weird higher order of my cognition. 5 minutes of activation. My brain is doing the Lindy Hop. I might be a sleeper agent now. Keep a close eye on your REM sleep patterns.

Listen if: you have the courage to say the phrase “intelligent dance music” out loud amongst your peers

Favorite Track: “sjwip sjwap”


Agus Garcia & Eme – Hypnosis EP

Supremely slinky, blessedly uncomplicated house beats to stick your head out of a sunroof to. Works in a fantastically esoteric sense; I hear and I do not question. I have no interest in dissecting. Whatever parts there are to this assemble behind closed doors to create an inscrutable whole. Intoxicating. Cool. Mood-setting. Smoke a cigarette, interestingly. You are sitting in the darkest corner of the nightclub. You are an informant for a nosy private eye who doesn’t even know the half of what they’re getting into. You flash a coy smile. You’re holding all the cards; everything becomes a means to your end.

Listen if: you are on a posh (docked) yacht and trying (unsuccessfully) to gracefully fish the olive out of your 3rd martini of the evening

Favorite Track: “Hypnosis (Rowlanz Remix)”


Midpoint Union – New Turn

Dreamy, creamy, sweet dreampop nothings from Portugal. A pound of cotton candy (which weighs exactly as much as a pound of steel, a pound of feathers, a pound of . . . ) that melts and diffuses when exposed to water. It exists for a reason, and that reason is to make me feel OK about where I’m at and how my life is going at 10 P.M. on a Tuesday night. Joyous in a way that lots of things have the potential to be; the pleasure of eating a snack cake you used to love as a kid and finding it every bit as good as you remember (maybe a little sweeter, though). Maybe it’s a little disposable, a little slight; but, good grief, must everything linger?

Listen if: you’re flying into Seattle in the mid-afternoon; you pack your clothes in a guitar case

Favorite Tracks: “Forgotten Places”, “Perfectly Unfinished”, “Making Bounds”


That’ll do for today. Try to keep your socks on, O listener!

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

Bandcamp Roulette: Col. Warren, Indistinct voices over PA, shauni (name might change)

Bandcamp Roulette: Col. Warren, Indistinct voices over PA, shauni (name might change)

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from Col. Warren, Indistinct voices over PA, and shauni (name might change).

Three genres, three moods, three very un-SEO-friendly artist names: just another day in the life here at the COUNTERZINE underground headquarters in Undisclosed Location, U.S.A.!


Col. Warren – ecco cemetery

Plunderphonic sewer vaporwave: as in, it crawled out of the storm drain and now it’s sitting on your front porch daring you to look away. Extremely direct in tone and style; refuses to pull a punch; undulates between your two earbuds, incessantly: what a wiggly little creature! I think of it like I would an old-fashioned telegram punctuated by the word STOP. Very interested in showing you its nooks and crannies, its chops and seams; will lead you down numerous fractal alleyways if you don’t watch your step. ecco cemetery is content simply to bask in the luxurious warm glow of the samples it is recontextualizing rather than waste your time with soupy overproduction. It is the panda: it eats, shoots, and leaves.

Listen if: you are standing on the deck of a cruise ship at 1:30 A.M. in your négligée and looking all windswept and interesting

Favorite Tracks: “you’re such a thing”, “en chemiqlés”


Indistinct voices over PA – Closing credits // Patterns OST excerpts

Four tracks scraped out of context from a full soundtrack made by the artist for an unreleased immersive VR dome horror film, Patterns, that apparently featured cymatics, ferrofluids, photogrammetry, and “pioneering ambisonic sound processes”. These concepts can all be felt palpably in the final musical product: the noises are freakish and all-encompassing, sweeping murderously around the stereo field in a manner clearly designed for intensive headphone listening. It’s all achingly close to being totally immersive; the mystery of the full VR experience that accompanied the music lingers heavily over this music to varying effect, and, occasionally, I found myself quite frustrated at not having any visual context to what I was hearing. Well worth a listen, because it is very good; but, it is also difficult to detach from some glorious vision of what might have been.

Listen if: you’re a haunted house employee and you’re finally on your crummy 15-minute lunch break but you can’t afford to lose your immersion in the spooky character you’re playing

Favorite Track: “patterns III (first draft)”, “ghouls (a séance)”


shauni (name might change) – Demos

Firstly: I hope shauni (name might change) never changes that name.

Secondly: What is this? What is this doing on a nondescript Bandcamp page? This is impeccable. Forlorn, dark, romantic trip-hop-y glitch pop (trip-pop?) from Paris: a cauldron full of still, glassy crude oil. Think Baths; think ODAE; think Junior Boys, but melancholic. An excess of black bile. Quite expressive. Might be in need of a haircut.

Sometimes, the really excellent stuff I find leaves me a little lost for words, which is annoying, of course: but, it’s a fun process to fumble, to hunt around for what phrases might somehow transcribe the way the music makes you feel. Without adornment: Demos is good, and I like it a lot. Give it a few spins.

Listen if: the wind is howling

Favorite Tracks: “Wolfskin”, “The Hooks”


Another three down . . . How many more to go? Sheesh, your guess is as good as mine.

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

Bandcamp Roulette: wellkeptnothing, Yuki Fukuyama, Robert Crosbie

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from wellkeptnothing, Yuki Fukuyama, and Robert Crosbie / Geisha.

Albums time, albums time, albums time! Four instead of the usual three, for reasons that will be explained further down. Check ‘em out, already!:


wellkeptnothing – 8PM

You might do a bit of a double-take when you check out the release page for 8PM and notice a seemingly esoteric collection of tags: “alkaline”, “canvas”, “oil painting”, and “superconnected”. If you’re anything like me, those tags will drive you to listen to the project, an understated, appealing collection of hazy lounge-jazz-y cuts quietly bubbling over with tasteful electronic accents. It’s easy to fall harmlessly into the groove here; the artist provides plenty of soft cushioning to pad your landing. Snuggle up within the tunes. Pour yourself a mug of hot chocolate. Grab a pillow: A Pillow Pet, even (hey, remember those?). Don’t get too comfortable, however; inspect the release page a little more closely, and you’ll see that this album is currently priced at a whopping ¥100,000 (a little under $910 U.S. dollars). The “oil painting” tag makes more sense now; it is a thing to be viewed under the soft museum lighting of the Bandcamp interface, admired, and then left alone. You can’t take this piece home with you and confine it to the digital waste dump that is your mp3 folder (unless you can, in which case: gimme some, moneybags), and perhaps that makes it all the better.

Listen if: you are the Monopoly Man

Favorite Tracks: “l’histoire du soleil”, “smiles from the memory she made with you”


Yuki Fukuyama – Three Dimensional Effect

Goofy, atonal deep house assembled with care from a bricolage of bleepity bloops, bloopity bleeps, and radio squawks. Each song evolves as though running through an all-encompassing generative engine; the sound is like an entity, untouched by human hands: merely observed, transcribed, and replicated. Sort of what I imagine a Magic Eye picture would sound like before you diverge your eyes. Each subsequent song iterates on what came before it (as outlined by the track titles, “One Dimensional”, “Two Dimensional”, and “Three Dimensional Effect”) by adding new, dynamic percussive and timbral elements. The electronic version of a traditional classical “Variations on a Theme” suite.

Listen if: you are a robot wearing human skin; you’re one of those accursed few who has to hold the Magic Eye book THIS. CLOSE. to your face to get it to work right and make a fool out of yourself in the Barnes & Noble

Favorite Track: “Two Dimensional”


Robert Crosbie / Geisha – Hummm and Turbulent Mediator

These are Dublin-based musician Robert Crosbie’s third and fourth EPs, respectively, but they’re marketed as companion pieces; one does not exist without the other (or, at least, the two are not as meaningful if not experienced as dual parts of a conceptual whole). Both projects focus on shoegaze aesthetics, lush, heavy ambience, and wistful composition, but to different ends: Hummm (Part 1 of the duology) is sun-kissed, almost triumphant, while Turbulent Mediator is earthier and more subdued. If Hummm is the event, then Turbulent Mediator is the aftermath, picking up the fragments that Hummm leaves shattered in its wake after the bombastic, psychedelic closer track “Reverie” and reassembling them into a frail after-image. Of the two, I think I might prefer Turbulent Mediator just the slightest bit more – but both EPs have a great deal to offer, and I wouldn’t listen to one without at least checking out the other, as well. It was a smart move on Crosbie’s part to separate the two, rather than just combining them into a single release; I think it’s much more fun to pick at the component parts of both EPs and see how they complement one another than it would be to do so with individual tracks on one exhaustive LP.

Listen if: you’re on a hill, it is five or so minutes until dawn, and you have ready access to a good, bassy boombox

Favorite Tracks: “Ummm” (from Hummm), “Seneath” (from Turbulent Mediator)


Good grief, that’s a lot of music, huh? The roulette wheel, it just keeps on a-turnin’!

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


Bandcamp Roulette: Spectrum Ryder, Swami Raja, PinaepplaGog

Bandcamp Roulette is a feature from contributor Secat that scours Bandcamp for interesting, new, and under-the-radar releases. This edition features albums from Spectrum Ryder, Swami Raja, and PinaeppplaGog.

Three gems that all flirt heavily with the unknown and esoteric; listens for the head and the heart. Let’s jump right in:


Spectrum Ryder – Spectrum Ryder

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Spectrum Ryder’s self-titled debut LP is a difficult project to write conclusively about, but for the right reasons; over its seven sweeping, moody, rumbling soundscapes (my personal highlight of which being the stellar “Moon Bloom”), Spectrum Ryder creates its own singular universe of sound, exerting a gravitational pull that anchors you to it firmly. Low-key enough to serve as effective background noise, but complex and varied enough that a focused listen proves endlessly rewarding. In the hands of a lesser creator, these compositions might unravel themselves, dissipating into meaningless echo and fuzz; but, instead, they engage and challenge the listener: drop whatever you’re doing, and pay attention. Your ears will thank you later.

Listen if: you’re the protagonist of a Silent Hill game but you can spare a few minutes away from the game loop to relax and sit on a beach chair somewhere

Favorite Tracks: “Moon Bloom”, “Realism in Blue”, “Rippling Chemtrail”


Swami Raja — भगवद् गीता

The latest release from Louisville, Kentucky-based record label Infinite Sync Studios, भगवद् गीता  is a sublimely cacophonous and deeply moving statement of identity that brings an overlooked creative perspective in ambient and vaporwave to the forefront; it shimmers and shakes and grits its teeth in modes that may be outside your understanding. Come for this, the newness, and stay for the beauty; the way it moves through water, how it holds its breath.

Listen if: you have lost contact with the abyss, and wish to reestablish it

Favorite Tracks: “विभूतिविस्तारयोग”, “ज्ञानत्रयधारायोग”, “श्राद्धत्रियविभागयोग”, “मोक्षसंन्यासयोग”


PinaepplaGog – PinaepplaPOP

Stutterpop contortions: blown-out wastelands of reminiscence, signifiers that cry out to each other from across the dark. Gaunt, frail reverb: ghosts wailing from the walls and the ceiling; everything is compressed, bending in on itself. The songs seize up; they stop and start at whim. Strange, joyous, fleeting, indistinct. Made to be lost in. Keep your hand on the right wall of the maze. Look straight ahead.

Listen if: you’re trapped inside a copy of Mary-Kate & Ashley: Magical Mystery Mall (ugh, again?!)

Favorite Tracks: “Samok 4_2”, “Didn’t Mean It”, “Break Apart”, “Chase”


‘Till next time; keep on, rockstars!

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

Album Auto-nalysis: Machine+’s ‘Samsara’

Album Auto-nalysis: Machine+’s ‘Samsara’

Album Auto-nalysis is a regular COUNTERZINE feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track and provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked Machine+ to detail their recent LP ‘Samsara’.




1. “Poor June”


Machine+: This was technically the first song recorded for the album. I wanna say back in January 2018, although it didn’t even come close to resembling the final version until mid-2019. It was originally written for a band I was a part of called Susurrate, but no one really thought it fit the mood of the EP we were working on, so I just continued tinkering with it while working on my other album Birds Can Sing. Thematically, I sort of consider it to be an overture for the rest of the album, brief moments of lo-fi indie, glitch, etc. Lyrically, it’s tangentially about cycles and habits, but with a lot of surrealistic imagery. I had a lot of doubts adding it because it’s probably the most experimental song on the album, but I thought it set the mood nicely and ultimately decided on including it. One more thing… I want to give credit for the intro to the album, it’s a chopped and screwed version of this song my friends wrote called “As They Ate the Soup”. They never released it, so I did a “remix” of it and thought it would be perfect as an opener to the album.

Inspiration: Oneohtrix Point Never, The Microphones, Mid Air Thief, Vaporwave, Chopped & Screwed remixes, Radiohead’s Kid A



2. “Alien Interference Blues”


Machine+: This was the song where I really knew I had a new album forming. I had songs ready before this one, but this was the first where I really went “oh yeah this could be an interesting direction for an album”. The opening glitch section was the first thing I made intended for a new album. I recorded some guitar on my phone really late at night and just stayed up until like 7 A.M. chopping it up bit by bit and by the time I went to bed it was pretty much finished. Then I realized it would work really well with this shoegaze song I had written a couple months earlier, and voilà, we have “Alien Interference Blues”. I actually didn’t do the last minute or so of the song until a few weeks before the album was out. I felt it needed a smoother bridge into “Soft Lights” and I ended up with this cool sound collage thing so I just let it play out. I think it’s fairly straightforward thematically.

Inspiration: Four Tet, Sweet Trip, Deftones (Saturday Night Wrist era), Jesu, Ground Zero



3. “Soft Lights”


Machine+: So “Soft Lights” was actually written for a different group project that sorta fell through before we finished, so I completely reworked and rerecorded it for Samsara because it was just too good of a song to just let fade into the wind. Once I had the Samsara version of the song completed, I realized it worked really well as a bridging of the gaps between Birds Can Sing and this (I’m completely obsessed with discographies that have these threads you can follow album to album picking up on themes and sounds that carry over and hint where the artist is going next), so it became the obvious choice for ‘lead single’.

Inspiration: Portishead, Slowdive, Duster, King Krule, Low



4. “Something Next to You”


Machine+: Originally conceived as nothing more than the outro vocals you hear at the end of “Alien Interference Blues” and “Soft Lights” and the ending glitch synth (without the glitches) at the end of the song, it really quickly became its own beast and I had to separate them. It’s the closest thing stylistically to my older albums with its sort of ripoff Teen Suicide Bandcamp emo thing it has going on. It’s the only song that was really written with an experiment in mind first and not a song, the ditty came later on. This and “Soft Lights” thematically sort of stab at this love in the face of apathy and growing cynicism and the cycles and circles that sort of thinking can lead you to.

Inspiration: Oval, Fennesz, OPN, Teen Suicide, Red House Painters, more Low and Microphones



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5. “Scruff”


Machine+: Which leads us right into “Scruff”, which is all about this kind of cycle at its lowest point, pure apathy split into five parts. Technically speaking, this is the oldest song on the album, the original idea being a super expansive 30 minute modern classical piece I was writing in like 2013 before I even started and it just slowly evolved into whatever you can call “Scruff” now. It was the song on the album that came most ‘naturally’ flowing from idea to idea, for some reason glitch just sits nicely against post-rock to avant folk to alt-rock and back again in my head. There’s probably six or seven different recorded versions I have of this song sitting in multiple different places and none of them resemble each other in the slightest. When I write songs, I don’t really go in with an explicitly composed idea, more like general outlines where I improvisationally fill in the details while recording. I think “Scruff” really represents that side of my songwriting the best and I’m very proud of how it came out despite the improv. Makes me wanna do more like this song in the future.

Inspiration: Uncle Meat by Mothers of Invention, Giant Claw/Death’s Dynamic Shroud, Gastr del Sol, Lost Salt Blood Purges



6. “Hold Me Baby Blue”


Machine+: The other song I wrote alongside “Soft Lights” for the group project that ended up falling through. Similar to “Soft Lights”, it’s a bit more simple than the other material, but I thought it would make the perfect breather track near the end of the album to interrupt the two mammoth songs. I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this one, it’s a fairly straightforward love ballad and production-wise it was much easier to put together than anything else on the album; guitar, lead guitar, MIDI drums and vocal.

Inspiration: basically just Mark Kozelek



7. “On the Mountain”


Machine+: Alright, and finally “On the Mountain”. Me and this song have some major major history. It was the first Machine+ song I ever wrote, on December 25, 2013, and it has followed me throughout the years begging for a place and a true recording, but I could never make it work. My first album Sketch My Apocalypse has a 10 minute version of it that is basically just noise; I tried doing an acoustic version on a now-deleted EP, but I wasn’t satisfied with that either. I tried recording a poppier version for Birds Can Sing and multiple shortened versions for various group projects. BUT. IT. JUST. WOULDN’T. WORK. So one day, I was working on a song and I decided “okay, let me do this for real”. I cranked the tempo WAY down and just kept playing and I was finally happy with it at the end of that day of recording. It was such a moment of closure for me to finally put down this song that has haunted me through project after project and it really fit the theme of the album being the light at the end of a very dark and isolated tunnel. The ending sound collage was the last thing I did to the album before uploading it on Bandcamp and it serves two purposes: one is bit more surface level as it bridges the album back to front, like the ending glitches of the song as it fizzles out are also the first glitches you hear when the album is ‘revving up’ in “Poor June”; the second purpose is a bit more thematic, I treat the sound collage as a sort of exorcism of the apathy and general bad feels that produced my last three albums, just a pure “get out, it’s time to start something new”.

Inspiration: Jesu, MBV, *shels,



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Machine+’s ‘Samsara’ is out now digitally and is available to purchase here through Bandcamp. Be sure to follow Machine+ on Twitter and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with the artist. You can read more on ‘Samsara’ from us via Secat’s Bandcamp Roulette.