When longtime netlabelism contributor Simon Haycock mentioned it would probably be improper to review his latest Bitbasic release in the magazine, I decided to check it out anyway. Not only is he very modest, he also happens to be an excellent musician. Excellent in that he has managed to keep an open attitude towards creating music regardless of his extensive experience. He constantly tries out new things and I was genuinely interested in hearing what he’d come up with this time.
‘Eer’ is a release Bitbasic composed some years ago, and has just now been picked up by the exquisite Dedpop label. We reviewed one release from the Dedpop catalogue before: ‘Mender – Resonant Tense‘. That release has become an absolute favourite of mine, and ‘Eer’ seems set to follow in its footsteps: it’s eclectic, wildly original while at the same time referencing some very good music of the past. The opener, ‘Pancho’s Cuban Music-Hour’, embodies this duality perfectly. It reminds me of Squarepusher’s ‘Beep Street’ but gives this a more modern twist. When the Dedpop manifesto claims they’re a record label for people who can’t decide if they’re forward thinking or stuck in the past, it’s quite clear why they chose ‘Eer’ to be part of their legacy.
I fell in love with the release shortly after the intro of the second track: ‘Fractal Pants’. What starts as an intense build-up during the intro section continues throughout the rest of this song: Bitbasic modulates the chord progressions in an almost heart-wrenching fashion. Right when the tension reached max value a glitchy drum fill announced sweet, sweet release through kick and snare drums. Nevermind that this is the oldest trick in the book. Classic song structure became classic for a reason: the beat drops at all the right moments throughout the song. I am not ashamed to say the wonkiness of this track, and in particular its total breakdown of a finale made me indulge in some rather embarrassing – scrap that: truly epic – dance moves.
‘Origami Guy’ has that skitty, nervous drumbeat I always equate with ‘DJ Food – The Riff’: Jazzy, stimulating, nerve-wrecking. But Bitbasic isn’t one to leave his listeners disorganized and entirely dysfunctional. He quietly returns them to earth through a myriad of ever-slowing dreamy scenes in ‘Alert’ and ‘Dans la playet’.
I haven’t touched upon the coolest (and perhaps most controversial) part of this whole release. It’s not free. It is a paid release on… drumroll… cassette tape! Now why on earth would anyone do that? The Dedpop website elaborates on this choice:
“This year we’re starting to release music on tape. Weird no? But we make music for people who enjoy the collecting as much as the listening, so it makes sense to create something tangible. And don’t worry if you don’t have a tape deck anymore as every tape includes a download code so you can load up your fancy, new-fangled MP3 player.”
The price tag of £6.00 GBP is not exactly steep, and I think it’s more than worth it for a quality release like this. I will treasure my cassette tape. I’ll even look for a crummy cassette player to play it on before relaying the included digital version through my studio monitors. This release excites me in a way music hasn’t done in quite a while. Both the contents and the packaging (and I think that – strangely enough – the fact that it’s a paid release) have something to do with this. What excites me the most, however, is how the final product just oozes the dedication and love it received from everyone involved in its creation. Highly recommended. [SVB]
Bitbasic – Fractal Pants
Deep link to the Release Page