Getting Lost on Bandcamp [Vol. 2]
Getting Lost on Bandcamp [Vol. 2]
BY: PAD CHENNINGTON
The online music platform known as Bandcamp welcomes in hundreds of new music uploads daily. From the odd and unsettling, to the ethereal and mysterious, you are guaranteed to find some pretty interesting albums on the site. So today, I invite you to travel with me as we once again get lost within the deepest corners of Bandcamp and discover what strange and mystifying sounds await us. If you haven’t yet, check out volume 1 in this series before beginning this article. Cheers, and let’s begin!
7) How To Disappear Completely - Seraphim
Seraphim by the Polish Ambient Collective known as How To Disappear Completely is an almost 2 hour long journey into soft and heavenly fields of drone and texture exploration. Split into 10 tracks, with titles treating the project like 10 individual pieces to the process, Seraphim explores sounds specifically made for headphone users, with the Bandcamp page making a note of this towards the very bottom that also adds “All perceived silence and audio deformations were intended”.
Seraphim uses the Bandcamp page to further enhance the moods and feelings of the extremely slow moving and hypnotic nature of the project. Everything is so dark and expansive, with barely legible text and a pitch black background to boot.
While the length of Seraphim may be a bit off putting to some, this release is a perfect tool for those who have a bit of time on their hands and are looking to build a collection of albums to drift away to, or material to escape the world with. Hazy, stretched out moments of auditory bliss to get lost in. It’s one of those albums that becomes so connected to your inner soul that you just forget it’s there after leaving it on for a while, only to recognize its presence when the waves of sound get slightly larger in size from time to time, only for it to slowly crash into this colorless sea of sound.
A perfect album cover to go with the project as well, Seraphim gives off the same experience of looking out into the sea in the dead of night. I don’t know if you’ve ever been out on a boat in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night, but there’s something so humbling about only seeing a couple feet out in front of you. The light illuminating from the boat only showcasing the first 10 or 20 feet of waves in front of you, but beyond that is just this pitch black screen of seemingly nothingness. The world is much larger than we perceive it to be, and this is the same with Seraphim. If you want something meditative and simply beautiful, this is a masterclass in ambient sound exploration and I hope you seek to get lost within it as well.
6) Eキャンパス†107 - 人懐っこいECO (translated to: E Campus 107- Friendly ECO)
Now let’s get a little upbeat and choppy!
Eキャンパス†107 (translated to: E Campus 107) by 人懐っこいECO (translated to: Friendly ECO) is a short 6 track project from all the way back in 2013. It’s always really fun to go back and check out the earlier times in the Vaporwave sphere, I only really discovered the genre a couple of years later so sometimes stumbling upon albums like this truly feels like uncovering distant memories that never actually happened for me, which is what the Vaporwave genre is all about in the first place, so these experiences are always super fun to get lost in.
A wacky tracklist to perfectly exemplify this strangely upbeat Signalwave production, you’ll notice some pretty well known samples in here like John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane” on track 4 “タバコSHOP☪☪☪”, or Taylor Swift’s “22” on the finale track “♥♥より良いあなたの♥♥" (translated to: “Better for your”), this weirdly piercing sample flip that alone is almost as long as the entire rest of the tracklist combined.
This really seems like one of those old albums that just got lost to the ever expanding internet and all the constant music uploads that happen every second, looking at the page there isn’t the usual section filled with people who have supported the project, and this is because the album is available as a free download which is really cool, but it ultimately creates this super small Bandcamp page that just looks like it was forgotten about.. and I’ll always love that strange vibe.
5) ベリキャンディ†- アクアティックリゾート(translated to: Beri Candy-Aquatic Resort)
Released back in November of 2020 as an homage to the iconic Vaporwave producer Internet Club, アクアティックリゾート† (translated to: Aquatic Resort) by ベリキャンディ(translated to: Beri Candy) contains 14 silky yet cruddy and empty tracks, a majority of which, with no surprise, are smooth jazz sample flips reconstructed into hypnotizing loops perfectly fit for that special someone always searching for a groovy escape into an abandoned luxury aesthetic. I think that’s got to be one of my favorite aesthetics, look at this thing. I gotta say, one of the best things in life has got to be a hotel that has an indoor pool, like growing up as a kid I was always mind blown at the concept of being able to go swimming indoors while outside it's cold or snowing... This album hits that spot perfect, and even though that indoor pool gets closed at 9 o'clock, it’s albums like this that let you sneak back in with your room key after everyone else calls it a night, and it’s just you and that ability to soak in that beautiful smell of humid chlorine in the air.
Fans of classic Vapor, simple loops and a mixdown that makes everything truly feel lonely, the secluded sound design of アクアティックリゾートis great ear candy for those looking to wind down, kick their feet up and relax heavy, so add this to your collection of tracks if this sounds like you.
The album was originally released on Occasionally Tapes, but later dropped on the label ‘98 with two cassette runs, both now long sold out.
4) Abul Mogard - In a Few Places Along the River
Released on the 1st of February, Italy’s Abul Mogard and their 3 track piece titled In a Few Places Along the River is another riveting piece of ambient goodness that slowly begins to blend into your surroundings minute by minute.
Composed with synthesizers and various other added effects, these three tracks were recorded during 2019 and 2022. Similar to the project we started this video off with, Seraphim, In a Few Places Along the River once again strips the concept of ambient music down to the very bare bones; everything is simple, stretched, yet we’re able to visualize all the itty-bitty fibers and threads that make up a singular sound with these tracks. These three tracks are emotional, in your face and to the point, and it’s so easy to just get lost in the gradual enormity of these tracks. The first two pieces contain these individual layers of sound headed in the same direction, that slow but powerful wave rising to seemingly infinity, all for it to slowly duck back down and nestle itself as close to silence as it possibly could get. And the finale track, “Along The River”, becomes a bit more melodic and sonically diverse compared to the first two. It’s a great little treat after traveling through the first 2 tracks of the project and really brings to life the beautiful colors and bliss of the album artwork as well.
It’s artists like Abul Mogard and the collective of How To Disappear Completely that understand how breathtaking and rewarding it could be for us to be patient as a listener, and for us to grab on to one or two sounds and ride it into the audio frontier. They are able to bring tracks to life, all while having the ability to also slowly tame them back down, ambient mastery that just gets me everytime. Brilliant work and I hope you check out the rest of Mogard’s work whenever you get the chance.
3) Matt Rösner - No Lasting Form
Based out of Western Australia, Matt Rösner’s solo project titled No Lasting Form is a quaint and mesmerizing 8 track drone and ambient album filled with delicate, yet impressive, personality.
Recorded in 2020 and released in the Spring of 2021, Rösner presents the listener with airy and fun loops that blend together natural sounding habitats with more concrete, slightly buzzier textures. These little bells, chimes, and other instruments give off this feeling as if the songs are gradually coming to life, slowly awakening and stretching out after a long sleep. Rösner details the origins of his creativity for the project with a note on the Bandcamp page:
“After the long break from making music, I was starting at ground zero. Initially I was flooded with ideas, there were too many possibilities, and I was met with a state of confusion about where to begin in this new place I had arrived at. To refine the direction, many hours were spen just listening and thinking about what had led me to this point. I was soon trying to figure out when the pieces were complete or whether I’d captured the intent or feel of a particular sound.
There were months where I didn’t record a single note, I just listened in a very detailed and deliberate way. Because of this process the album feels like it’s a lived in room or an old pair of shoes, or that precious memory you hold from the past…it reflects on times and places I have inhabited and I am pleased to invite others to now come and be inside this sound world.” -Matt Rösner
No Lasting Form is a beautiful and passionate piece of sound art and design, it showcases the idea of just letting the world around you do the talking. Imagine music taking form into thousands of little ants and beetles, all crawling around pipes and tubes and little cracks in the cement. It’s a bustling world that somehow manages to constantly remain soothing, reflective and relaxing... A great mind-massager of an album.
2) スピネルライフ†- after the dark (translated to: spinal life - after the dark)
Containing moments of echo jams, signalwave, eerie vocal chops and ice-cold sample flips, スピ ネルライフ’s after the dark is just another one of those solid, lost-to-the-void Vaporwave albums that relies so heavily on it’s album artwork to further deliver a vibe or feeling to the project as a whole.
Echoing saxophones and splashy crash symbols emphasizing the fuzzy blur of a blizzard in the late of night… Vocals that pop out and call at you from a distance… wispy and windy flutes crashing into one another on tracks like “souvenir”— everything is fun and constantly moving on the album and gives after the dark so much life as a project that is merely comprised of easy going sample flips. It’s a quick little snack of a project at only 6 tracks, despite some of them being pretty lengthy, but everything flies by anyway when you’re having fun.
A big shout out to one of my favorite YouTube channels that curates great music, channelsurfing, for being the first place I actually discovered this thing. If you’re looking for a channel with some really obscure music (I would say 85% of the time I am discovering something new on there when they upload), definitely check out their channel.
1) Ｓｐｏｒｔ３０００†- Ｃｌｅａｒａｎｃｅ†Ｓａｌｅ
Let’s top off the list with a crushingly luxurious throwback to a once thriving department store business now closing its doors: Ｓｐｏｒｔ３０００’s Ｃｌｅａｒａｎｃｅ†Ｓａｌｅ.
If you’re looking to score some last second home-run deals on some furniture or appliances, travel through the various floors and shopping areas located in this Classic-style Vaporwave world created by one of the most legendary Signalwave artists in the game, Ｓｐｏｒｔ３０００.
Ｓｐｏｒｔ３０００†always has the perfect touch on their tracks, the fuzziness and VHS buzz is always poured out at the perfect amount and always served ice cold. I love how the tracklist gradually builds up to the final moments of this all-in-one store, all leading up to that finale track that ends with a brooding, rumbling growl of sound signifying the emptiness of this once bustling shopping venue.
The album was also released on the Toronto based Adhesive Sounds on an extremely limited edition cassette run of 25 copies only.
There are a really solid handful of Ｓｐｏｒｔ３０００†releases to go through, but Ｃｌｅａｒａｎｃｅ†Ｓａｌｅ’s attention to the setting it is meant to represent is spot on. You can feel the dusty, mustiness in the air from all the moving of clothing racks and furniture displays as they empty out the showrooms of these magical shopping destinations lost to a time long ago.
Until next time… Much love, ur boi,