Those that keep a close eye on Mike Cadoo's Bitcrush project may have been somewhat concerned with the title of his previous full-length, Epilogue in Waves. That album, by Cadoo's admission, was to be the last of his cathartic Bitcrush entity. Thankfully, writing music is an integral part of Cadoo and has become an important means to understand life. Now, two years later we see the release of Cadoo's fifth album from his Bitcrush project 'Of Embers.' Of Embers is his most intimate album and continues with the very personal cathartic nature we have come to expect. Cadoo has always transitioned between and fused together diverse styles seamlessly and with each album has moved the Bitcrush meme towards his personal needs of expression. Of Embers begins where the Epilogue in Waves' song Pearl left us. Presented are longer movements each that progress and tell their story patiently using the sound that has grown to become the Bitcrush norm. Of Embers is an hour in length, yet boasts only six tracks; three tracks over 10 minutes and two that approach 15 minutes. Of Embers finds Cadoo looking even further back into his experiences and inner struggles than ever before to create what may be the most hopeful album of his musical career.
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Of Embers tracklisting
Dream Unto Fathoms
Fray The Middle To Meet The Ends
The Days We Spent Within
Demons & Dandelions
As if running a terrific label isn’t enough, Mike Cadoo’s, Bitcrush goes from strength to strength as a solo musical project. Once at the forefront of IDM (as Gridlock), Cadoo prefers nowadays to infuse his dreamy electronica with some choice indie-rock references. At times it is difficult to shake off the notion that this guy is making music purely for me. Like predictive text on a cell phone, Bitcrush tracks seem to always go in the right direction. The opening, title track for example, begins by swirling prettily enough until the most satisfying bass THRUM I’ve heard in ages announces the arrival of a more beefed up Bitcrush. I’m sold. It’s very reminiscent of the start of Sigur Ros’ Takk. The bass is so deliberate it’s almost wrought. You can hear the frets. (Always loved that, in the right song)
To think that I never even expected any further Bitcrush output. Somehow, on every instinctive, subconscious level, 2009’s Epilogue In Waves cried out, this is an ending, a line in the sand, a footnote, a post script, an epilogue…..this is your lot. It’s over. Get over it. It was also a beautiful piece of work loaded with doubt, indecision and regret. To be honest I thought, like Portal, Cadoo might have retired the Bitcrush name. In show business they say ‘leave the audience wanting more’. We wanted more Bitcrush. But where do you go after an album like ‘Epilogue…’ ? How do you follow a masterpiece? It’s like you’ve played the perfect live set – all your best pieces, in the perfect sequence, with the perfect ending.
Of Embers is the perfect encore.
I guessed/hoped he’d be back but just assumed it’d be some other guise. Somehow I was thinking ‘full band’. In many ways Of Embers sounds a good deal like a full band. I already mentioned the bass. Drumming is particularly impressive. I know Cadoo does marry live instruments to his electronica but the biggest compliment I can pay Of Embers’ is the admission I can’t always tell where.
This is a big record. A powerful, not to be argued with album. Six colossal tracks push the hour mark whilst never outstaying their welcome. Even the gargantuan 15 minute epics (there are two) slip joyously by courtesy of their many different phases and passages. At times Of Embers really rocks. How I ache to thumb through Cadoo’s record collection. I’m reminded variously of Mogwai, (‘Fray the middle to meet the ends’) The Cure (‘Dream unto fathoms’) and even the wonderful Dif Juz (the blazing guitar on ‘Ascension’) The man knows his classics.
Bolder and more optimistic than ever before, this new model Bitcrush has wrong-footed even the best of us. As the record plays out to the gorgeous two minute coda, ‘Demons and dandelions’ I wonder if it isn’t time to retire not the name but instead the familiar Bitcrush motif “have you lost your way?” We may have. But Bitcrush has certainly found his.
Mit “Pygmalion” beendeten Slowdive 1995 ihre Karriere. Der Sound der Band, der bis heute stellvertretend und als leuchtendes Beispiel für das Shoegazing steht, hatte sich im Laufe der Jahre erheblich verändert. Aus den großen und lauten Gitarrenwänden waren auf dem letzten Album der Band abgeklärte, experimentelle Popsongs geworden, die eher der Spätphase von Talk Talk schmeichelten, als dem BritPop. Bitcrush sucht auf seinem neuen Album einen ähnlichen Weg. Die Einflüsse und Veränderungen in seinem Sound folgen denen von Slowdive auf dem Fuß. Zwar gibt es immer noch die explosiven Momente, das Chaos und die sägende Verzerrung, aber Mike Cadoo wird auch immer introvertierter und zurückgezogener. Eigentlich hatte er das Album gar nicht mehr aufnehmen wollen, schon vor zwei Jahren sollte Schluss sein mit Bitcrush. Gut, dass das nicht passiert ist. “Of Embers” wird nicht nur die Shoegazer der ersten Generation zu einem erleichterten Seufzen bewegen, die Platte macht wieder einmal klar, dass wir ohne dieses klare Bekenntnis nicht leben können. Nichts bewegt so wie die Ruhe.
Four minutes into Of Embers' opening title track, beatific waves of electric guitars and heavy acoustic drums kick in, in a single gesture burying the ambient synthetic streams with which the piece began. Ah, yes, we're in Bitcrush territory again and how good it feels. That we are is, in fact, a tad surprising given that Mike Cadoo's previous Bitcrush opus, Epilogue in Waves, seemingly announced the end of the project, but n5MD's head clearly had a change of heart, as the latest hour-long collection—the fifth in the Bitcrush story—arrives two years later with all of the signature elements intact.
Two of the album's six tracks are in the fifteen-minute range. The rather episodic “Fray the Middle to Meet the Ends” fluctuates between restrained passages of soothing character and explosive sections of high-intensity rapture that Cadoo tears into with conviction. Following a gentle intro of piano, electronics, and strings, “Ascension” sweeps the listener up with a transporting head-nod episode but the track is hardly about unleashing power; if anything, the focus is more on shaping minimal electro-acoustic sounds and field recording elements (sounds of keys and traffic) into material tailor-made to soothe the savage breast. That it's an extremely personal outlet for Cadoo is intimated by the inclusion of vocals on a number of tracks, which thankfully isn't a negative. His singing blends into the music's overall fabric seamlessly and his controlled delivery (no over-the-top histrionics here) in “Dream Unto Fathoms” and elsewhere proves appealing. The fireplace crackle one hears during the ambient passages in “The Days We Spent Within” also alludes to the intimacy Cadoo's aiming at. It's always a bit of a surprise to hear his own music be so guitar-heavy given his label's ‘emotive electronic' credo but, though the ‘live instrumentation' dimension is a key part of the Bitcrush sound, the electronica dimension is a critical component too, as evidenced by the synthetic atmospheres that haunt each setting.
It only makes sense that we begin our coverage with an album from the label boss himself, Mike Cadoo, releasing his fifth album under the Bitcrush alias (see his latest as Dryft further in our next installment). Picking up where his 2008 album, Epilogue In Waves, left off, Cadoo employs soaring guitars with reverb drenched synthetic pads, cut-up glitchy IDM clicks and full on acoustic percussion. With only six tracks adding up to less than an hour, the album effortlessly floats between genres, fusing favorite elements of ambient and post-rock. “Of Embers finds Cadoo looking even further back into his experiences and inner struggles than ever before to create what may be the most hopeful album of his musical career.” Fans of emotional electronica will be delighted to glide along the downtempo rhythm with the ghostly background vocals of Cadoo himself. Fourteen minute track, Fray The Middle To Meet The Ends, takes the listener onto a cinematic journey, where textured layers and sonic waves unfold into a new beginning, so very welcome after his last, misleading Epilogue. Overall, Of Embers is a very personal album, bringing the listener closer into the intimate setting of this musician’s world, where the fire slowly crackles and the embers gently glow. Highly recommended for fans of Hammock, Port-Royal and Lights Out Asia.
10 comments so far (post your own)
Alex K posted this comment on Monday, 12.21.09 @ 20:19pm
The Days We Spent Within <3 Love the emotion in this track!
Jack posted this comment on Saturday, 01.16.10 @ 00:28am
Pardon but where is "Shards"?
Mike R posted this comment on Saturday, 01.16.10 @ 06:52am
uh.. only 6 tracks? Are they really long or what?
bitcrush posted this comment on Monday, 01.18.10 @ 17:01pm
of course they're long
Dan posted this comment on Monday, 01.18.10 @ 23:36pm
really can't wait for this and something new from lights out asia
Jim P posted this comment on Friday, 03.26.10 @ 21:13pm
I have never been a "morning person" that is just able to jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off. Most mornings, I will set my alarm clock for an hour before I truly have to get out of bed, and I will listen to music for that hour as my mind and body slowly but surely build up the energy to actually get going for the day. I am keenly looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning to this brand new release from Bitcrush, having just finished purchasing and downloading it (but forcing myself to hold off on listening to it, as doing so would inevitably result in me being awake tonight for another several hours as I continuously hit "repeat"). Bitcrush is never an artist for me to listen to simply in the background, as the music tends to envelop me entirely and ensnare me totally. This, however, is a very good thing; and while I generally dread mornings, I am now looking forward to tomorrow's.
eric posted this comment on Saturday, 04.3.10 @ 14:48pm
new gridlock cd for 2010?????
Jack posted this comment on Thursday, 04.29.10 @ 06:28am
Thank you. Just thank you. No words to describe my feelings. I've been waiting for this release too long.
Bask posted this comment on Sunday, 01.2.11 @ 02:41am
All so so beautiful.
Does anybody have the lyrics to Dream Unto Fathoms?
Idile posted this comment on Thursday, 01.12.12 @ 16:52pm
'Dream Unto Fathoms'. How can a song be so beautiful? So near the concept of beauty? I've been listening to it for more than a year almost everyday and I can't get tired of it. It still give me chills.
So just thank you.