The world continues to be an unpredictable place. Every time a slight normality seems to settle, something new comes along to rupture it and send everyone back into panic and sadness. Those with jobs and livelihoods based in the arts and events have suffered greatly from the fallout of Covid-19. The instability of jobs, the closing of independent venues and spaces, respective governments flagrant ignorance when it comes to support.
However, a small spark in the darkness for musicians and producers for the last half of the year has been Bandcamp Friday. All the way back on March 20th, the music platform Bandcamp decided to waive their revenue share to help creators as the world was hit by the initial impact of the pandemic.
From there, we have seen Bandcamp Friday become a regular occurrence. We’ve seen labels and creators donate to fantastic causes on a monthly basis. We’ve seen a dynamic range of exclusive releases and lots of amazing music and merchandise.
So Bandcamp Friday is upon us again, if you’re feeling a little overcome by the excitement of it all, we’ve got you covered! Here are 9 fantastic releases to checkout:
Solidarity With Moria: All Refugees Welcome – Pollination
Large communities of people continue to be uprooted from their homes by war and famine. Shelters and camps that are set up to house these refugees are quickly overcrowded as governments vastly underestimate their need for safety. In a refugee camp set up in Moria earlier this year housing almost ten times the amount of people it was originally meant for, disaster struck when their shelter was decimated in a fire.
Pollination, a recently formulated group championing the progressive potential of music, has released a compilation of 11 incredible electronic tracks. The money raised from purchases of the comp will go to aid the work of Movement On The Ground, an organisation pushing for the improvement and sanitation of the new camp housing those affected by the Moria fire.
The compilation itself promises to be full of incredible garage and dance-y electronic beats. Take Agora’s contribution that starts it all off. A pulsing, filtered synth beats out a rhythm amidst sweeping pads, before the artist takes us into rolling percussion, supported by squelching bass hits and misty vocal samples.
Magical Fire Brain – Devi McCallion & Katie Dey
Each artist has their own music out there (Devi McCallion as part of the band Black Dresses, Katie Dey under her own name) but on Magical Fire Brain, the two of them produce something truly extraordinary. The melding of quaint melodies with heavy electronic production is engaging. The lyrical content is thoughtful and expressive. Plastic is a shining example of what the album has to offer. The weighted percussion plods forward with jaunted synth keys, the lyrics seem to reach towards an extinguishing of identity in the face of the unrelenting physical realm, and all its grotesqueness. ‘My head throbbing, am i rotting or gay? What difference does it make? Crack my bones until they break, break.’
This kind of vivid poetry is at play all the way through Magical Fire Brain, certainly one of the most interesting releases of the past few months.
New Neighbourhoods – Freedom to Spend
Ernest Hood’s Neighbourhoods was released in 1975, a touching tribute to the musician’s local area of Portland, Oregon. The original release Ernest produced himself, pressing a few copies and passing them to his friends mostly. Little did he know that the album would be held as a touchstone for ambient music and the exploration of field recording years after its initial release.
Neighbourhoods was rereleased on RVNG Intl’s sub-label Freedom to Spend. And, especially for Bandcamp Friday, the label have opened up Ernest Hood’s cosy little field recording methodology to encompass the whole world on the compilation New Neighbourhoods. The 16-track tribute showcases artists from around the world incorporating field recordings from their immediate and dreamed surroundings as a focal, but not necessarily primary, component.
Todd Barton’s Ashland Ambience floats enchantingly from deep bells into a glimpse of a street awash with azure blue skies and quaint activity. It finally concludes with slow moving pads as clouds descend over the wholesome scene.
Money raised from the album will be donated to the Association for Neighbourhood and Housing Development’s Center for Community Leadership programme, that focuses on grassroots solutions to housing problems.
SURVIVE – HØST
Next up is some harsh UK Bass. Hooversound Recordings is run by the fantastic Reprezent Radio residents Sherelle and Naina. Since March, with each release the label owners have welcomed fantastic talent to the gradually growing roster, and early September saw H Ø S T’s introduction with SURVIVE.
Intricately layered and flowing freely in a shifting tempo, the two tracks jab out at the listener. The titular track features dizzying percussion and hypnotic vocal samples. The artist delivers foundation-shaking bass at a patient and calm tempo, and Om Unit’s remix of the track is not to be missed either.
Spectral Hands – Alpha Chrome Yayo
When it comes to interesting premises and dynamite execution, you can always count on Alpha Chrome Yayo. We’ve had an in-depth look at his fantastic golf-themed album before on listencorp, but this Bandcamp Friday he’s promising something a little more ghostly…
Spectral Hands takes the listener on a journey through the realm of the deceased. Some of those spirits we’ll meet along the way will be friendly, and some will be more sinister. Whatever happens, with Alpha Chrome Yayo’s delivery always being delightfully imaginative and gesticular, (as can be heard on the smooth Golden Gai Ghouls) we can’t wait to hear the full, 17-track experience.
Ukksbrijj (Toerag) – Rygby
UK-based electronic label White Peach Records have made a name for themselves with fantastic digital and physical releases for almost 10 years now. This latest release is a stark illustration of why their output should be watched with a keen eye. Rygby provides 4 clean-cut instrumentals, ranging from tightly wound grimy beats on the title track to the upbeat, buoyant bass and beautiful synthetic vocals of Mun Hunni.
The producer showcases some fantastic production skill. On each of the tracks the bass is powerful but so well restrained, the impact of it makes for dance-y tracks but the shimmering keys and pads ensure beautiful melodies in each of the 4 songs. Rygby’s production talent is harnessed perfectly by the label.
ll nøthing ll – NOW THAT I’M GONE
NOW THAT I’M GONE is the latest release from ll nøthing ll. Originally carving a name out for themselves in the annals of vaporwave music with releases like 豊かな隔離, it is evident in this new release that the artist has set their sights on more experimental pastures. This newest album from ll nøthing ll blends frantic beats with juddering emotive melodies.
The track that gives the album its title, now that i’m gone presents a stuttering euphoria featuring sibilant, whispering voices that are soon swept up in the shroud of sound. Gradually the artist introduces pacy jungle-style beats into the mix. The whole thing smoulders with this iridescent light, and the album itself you can purchase for however much you wish.
King Britt – A Re-Discovery (Remix Project)
At the beginning of August, King Britt released a 3-part project entitled A Discovery. An explorative project, listeners will find ominous keys moving seamlessly into heartfelt piano sequences. The artist seems to splay every little sound out for inspection, the lengthy decay of notes through the piano creating eerie background noise. At points, it feels as though King Britt plays melodies very normally, and wrenches them forcefully out of the piano at others.
On A Re-Discovery, King Britt invites his students from UC San Diego’s Department of Music to remix the original’s contents. The result is a fantastically dynamic set of tracks. Anqi Liu’s remix serves as a perfect example of this. King Britt’s calm, thoughtful disjointedness is exacerbated to a more manic state at the start through a layering of warbling samples. From there, the artist allows the samples to run themselves ragged, bringing dead sound to the fore. A swell of sounds finds the piano emerging from the murky depths once again.
Somewhere Else – Between Walls
The team at Futurepast Zine are no strangers to good music, they light up the airwaves with their monthly show on Sub FM and delighted dancefloors with shows in their local Birmingham (UK) in pre-Covid days. On this exclusive release they present a tranquil breakbeat tune from Brum’s own Between Walls.
Somewhere Else trickles in with spacey pads and hi-hat’s that begin to slowly dribble into reverbed space. From there, the artist hits out with fast-paced percussion, managing to keep things feeling chilled even in the more restless moments. Futurepast Zine are presenting this fantastic release on vinyl as well as digital.
To all of the creators and avid music listeners, have a fantastic Friday from us at listencorp xox