Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Bandcamp Only Releases

May 5, 2019

I’ve been using Spotify a lot recently, but Bandcamp is my true love. (Soundcloud is good too, but I love Bandcamp.) Some music is only available on Bandcamp! Here are three releases that are indeed only on Bandcamp.

Hold On – collard_greens. This is a multifaceted blast of instrumental collages, spanning an enormous range of sounds from acid rock (“over it”) to Spiritualized-style electro ballads (“duality”) to drone-laden acoustic fingerpicking (“fundamentals”) to fully-blown out uncategorizable distort-o-noise (“origins”). The two things that holds the album together are the underlying distortion and a sense of composerly forward motion–this album is maxxed out when it comes to the grit, rumble and shriek but also feels like it’s all of one mind. This is a hard thing to pull off when one track is an Indian raga-inspired acoustic jam (“we are here”) and the next is a fairly straightforward electro-indie-pop song, but lo, collard_greens manages it. If you’re into truly eclectic, experimental collage work, you’ll love this.

3 – mayforest. There’s quite a bit of diversity in this three-song ambient EP. Big swirls of pad synth sound go from hum to roar; the mood suddenly goes from doomy to charming (the end of “szelest”); the pace goes from glacial (the first two tracks) to fairly sprightly piano work (the third). A consistent vibe of white-noise-esque, subtly distorted synths that create the big swirling clouds run through all three of the tracks. This is ambient music, but it’s a lot more tense than most ambient; there’s some tension here that is let free to roam, whether it’s in the Eno-esque opener or the more concrete final track. For those who like their landscapes a little more unexpectedly tense.

When the Light Went Out – Fallen. Fallen has a similar love affair with the great clouds of pad synths that create big, swirling, dense landscapes. But Fallen puts their synths to even wider mood uses. “Cloudy Rooms, Oxygen and Miracles” is traditionally peaceful. The title track is ominous and foreboding, underscoring its title. “Diamond Eyes Through Darkness” is hopeful, optimistic, even majestic; the lead melody points towards a sort of epic, Vangelis-like mood (albeit in very slow motion). “Wandering Spirits Looking to Rest” is not just ominous–it’s full-on scary. The last 2:15 could easily score a horror film, what with the sound of crowds, the clanking sounds, the tense synths, and the claustrophobic treble. “If Your Dreams Ache” brings a lot of these moods to bear on the same track, creating a piano-driven, tense experience. “Peaceful Words Mean Everything” returns to the peaceful spaces of the opening track, but with some staccato pulses to keep you awake. All in all, an impressive, well-developed collection of ambient work.

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Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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