Bandcamp Picks of the Week 10/19/16

Bandcamp Picks of the Week feeding you two more delightful records.

bandcamp picks of the week equip

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Genre: Vaporwave

Favorite Tracks: “Equip Menu X (Character Customization),” “Hidden Grotto ~Frozen In Time~,” “MOONLIT CHAMBER [s a n d & s n a k e s],” “Skytrot,” “Spherical Floating Gardens,” “CONTINUE_”

This album is a goddamn pilgrimage. Equip’s Dream Catalogue debut goes far beyond being a mere vaporwave record or video game soundtrack: “Not a lost soundtrack, but the soundtrack of you playing the game itself — in I DREAMED OF A PALACE IN THE SKY, your own dreams of youth gone by are the exhibition.” What better way to explore the power of nostalgia than by laying bare the experience of that nostalgia? Rather than attempt to induce feelings of nostalgia in the listener, I DREAMED OF A PALACE IN THE SKY is a journaling of one’s present experience of nostalgia. That being said, the track titles play into this experience, lying somewhere in that nebulous space where the journey’s path is apparent, yet wholly unfamiliar: Have you played this game before, or does it just look like one you’ve seen? At first glance, it’s all here — from opening menu screen and character creation, right down to sneaking through sewers, escaping dungeons, and obtaining a cool staff — surely you’ve played this before, you just know it! Utilizing a combination of RPG sound effects, clear-cut synth pads and percussion, and even the occasional drowned-out guitar, Equip’s artistry lays in presenting the listener with an image of themselves in the present moment being lost to a time washed out by FINAL FANTASY replays and MAPLESTORY grinding. It’s all wrapped up in crystal clear stereo, waiting for you to blow the dust out of that old cartridge, pick up the controller, and hit [New Game]. You can listen here.

bandcamp picks of the week nic

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██████ – DEMO

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

Favorite Tracks: “I,” “IV”

Apparently you can pronounce that as “nic” according to ██████’s Bandcamp page, which is also wonderfully titled “wedonthaveaname.” Aside from winning the award for least searchable band in existence (maybe only half true), ██████ redeem themselves with a surprisingly gripping demo tape that gracefully warms up the listener’s ears for the sound of black metal; personally, it was my introduction to the genre. Though its scale isn’t quite as grand as most black metal releases, ██████ condenses a whole lot into their relentless 25-minute run. The sweeping opener, “I,” goes through several movements  in just the first half of its duration, breaking into an onslaught of noise halfway through the track. The subsequent pieces follow suit, maintaining interest through variation rather than letting anything sink in for too long. While the vocal performance may not be up-to-par for more dedicated fans of the genre, it’s certainly more welcoming to those who aren’t used to shrieking as instrumentation. The vocal presence being pushed to the midground of the mix allows the softly-distorted guitar trio to take hold of the listener, while the drummer’s outstanding performance keeps the rhythm interesting and gracefully textured. You can listen to it here.

Micha Knauer handles outreach for Crossfader. They grew up in four different states and once met a prancing chihuahua named Peetie.

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