Pixel Mixel by Bitbasic has been festering on my hard drive for quite a while. You see, I've already reviewed two of his albums and so I'm wary of appearing blinkered in my choices. In my defence, I declined to review his most recent free outing, Sprinkling Rainbows, because I found it lacklustre. However, talent will out. (Google Translation: I love this and hope you will too.) Released two months ago by Cologne's Rec72, one of the best CC netlabels around, Pixel Mixel offers 11 tracks of bluesy, glitchy, swinging, drill-and-bass goodness, and confirms the Bitster's status as a musician to follow. That doesn't mean you can stalk him or search his dustbins.
Now, I hope I don't offend anyone, but it seems to me that quite a lot of IDM/jungle/electronica seems intent on making listeners' headphones flap like a crane who's just aborted a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico. Over-excited by the heady glitching and sampling possibilities of computer music, some artists tend to throw glitch after squawk after screech at their tracks and, understandably, can forget some of the compositional (Bit)basics, although I readily admit that that is their prerogative, and good luck to them. However, Pixel Mixel, like the previously reviewed Grating Rainbows and Leonard, contains melodies and riffs and, blessed relief, remembers to ring the changes with different tempi and a broad palette(SP) of sounds.
To continue this deadly dull riveting line of reason, your Honour, I should add that there are three main strands to Bitbasic's music and all of them are on display here. I give you exhibits A, B and C (and recommend that your Wigness give special attention to the jazz guitar-infused, mesmerising and schizophrenic title track):
(A) Lullaby-like melodies, often formed from bell-like tones: Bitbasic - An Opener
(B) Blistering, jungle-cum-breakbeat glitchy workouts and (C) swinging, swaggering, snap-your-hips downtempo blues riffs (I refer you to the sections at 1:53 & 4:05): Bitbasic - Pixel Mixel
But all that is irrelevant. What matters is that Bitbasic's music is melodic, funky and entertaining. His tracks are well-structured, varied in both texture and tempo (this is not as prevalent in electronica as one might think) and contain tunes that will spring from your lips while you're in the bath/supermarket/jail.
Fish Restaurant combines soothing and soaring synth arcs with an utterly mad glitch breakdown about two-thirds of the way through; Milk is as mellow and atmospheric as a Pink Floyd/Lemon Jelly mash-up (I love the stabs of distorted noise that sound like a shorting electricity sub-station); and Oily Slither will appeal to the millions tens of you out there who like to hear roughed-up synths swing in a downtempo, bluesy manner. I must also mention Sift If You Like, whose wildly panning, now-it's-clean-now-it's-dirty bass is joyfully funky. All of the tracks mentioned are stuffed to the gunnels with extraneous noises, but these are slotted in so skilfully that they enhance the listening experience.
If Pixel Mixel had turned up at the weigh-in with a nice round figure of, say, eight tracks, it would be a knock-out, an almost certain winner of the yet-to-be-invented "Netlabel Album of the Year" award. As it is, it's still a marvellous release (I like all the tracks, really) and makes me thankful, yet again, that artists like Bitbasic are having such fun with the Creative Commons model. On second thoughts, it would still get my vote. I'm so soft.
If you like the album, try Leonard and Grating Rainbows and put together what will be a very entertaining playlist that will make your friends considerably less trendy than you. Then please do your good deed for the day and send Bitbasic and/or Rec72 a thank you email.
Bitbasic - Pixel Mixel (link to individual files and zipped album)
Rec72 netlabel (So cool es schmerzt.)
Bye. What? No, I'm going. I need a crate of beer salad. What do you mean you can't get enough of Bitbasic's creamy, crunchy goodness? (Ewww.) All right, here's what I'm going to do. Just for you, I'm going to ruin my reputation for impartiality and welcome another old friend back to CTW. It just so happens that there's a stonkingly good Bitbasic track on another Rec72 release and it comes with a beautifully relaxing album picture that any ambient artist would treasure.
Heh. Yes, Professor Kliq is back in town and this time he's brought his lab rats. I'll be brief because my brain is tired and so are your eyes. Download this and you'll own All Control, a funking Big Beat track as only the Prof knows how to do it (woody synth leads ahoy!) and four remixes of said track (one of which will confirm that Bitbasic has just as distinctive a style as PK's). The remaining tracks get three thumbs up - I must see the doctor about that - and a "We're not worthy" bow to Funkmeister Zentraal, otherwise known as Rec72. (I'm sure they're following me down the street. I must secure my dustbins.) Anyway, wrap your shell-likes around this:
The man's not ready for the bathchair just yet, is he?
Sincere apologies to the obviously talented Pisu, Akashic Grenade and RoybOt for not bothering to write a proper review of their, and I quote, "perfectly sutured gabba techno dubstepped breakbeats" but my laptop has run out of ink. All Control is good, clean fun and packs a punch. It's also free. Enjoy the weekend.
Evil Kliq - All Control Remix EP (link to individual tracks and zipped album)
Rec72 netlabel (again)