New Batch – Bridgetown Records
7.5.16 by Marcel Foley
Listening to Bridgetown Records ’ new Summer 2016 Piano Batch, I feel completely lost in time. As the sounds of minimalist piano pieces and lofi, nostalgic ambient drones wash over me like the waves of an ocean filled with the slowly deteriorating memories of some great historian, I can sense the balance of my own illuminated thoughts as time moves on and the canvas of our own essence begins to rot. Occasionally, this new age minimalism reminds me of watching an old French film in black and white, where one scene in particular focuses on two chairs facing each other in a hallway. This shot is pretty much just an endless loop, and even though it seems like a perfectly fine mental image, there is something so inherently eerie about it but you don’t know why. I pick up this same vibe of enigmatic eeriness from Bridgetown’s latest batch of tapes, an excellent collection that materializes your longing for a place that never existed, a desire to be forever locked in your hypnagogic state, or perhaps an unusual recollection of a dream you once had many, many years ago.
Michigan based ambient musician Theodore Schafer (a.k.a. one half of Cestine) paints a stunning “Portrait” of minimal sound design on his magnificent cassette. Featuring two ten minute solo pieces that recall several obscure new age releases from the 80’s with a brilliant postmodern edge, Schafer treats the piano like a sonic fragment forever lost to its own decay, looping melodies and repeating powerful harmonics to connect with the song’s next seamless progression.
Jason Calhoun’s Naps project highlights a specific brand of lofi keyboard nostalgia on “Happy All The Time Forever Always”, a quaint 10 track release that feels like the perfect balance between the video game soundtracks from your youth and the colorful drones found in most ambient driven IDM. The wonderfully melancholic “Headache” transitions into the ethereal “Nicole,” both tracks that pinpoint the most distinct personality traits of Calhoun’s mellow experimental works.
And just like the perfect nightcap to an evening reminiscing over childhood memories and old, dusty Polaroids, Danny DeLeon presents us with a stunning selection of solo piano pieces that marvelously closes out and defines one of the most soothingly unequivocal tape batches I’ve heard in a while. From the powerful opener “Lighthouse” to lovely closing ballad of “Mafioso,” DeLeon blurs the line between traditional classical and ambient in a truly remarkable manner.
Do yourself a favor and purchase these tapes (each of them available for $6 or $18 as a whole bundle) via Bridgetown Records’ Bandcamp now.