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Epilogue In Waves



Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Brett Spaceman  

If post-rock today offers only the briefest of death spasms, parts of the electronica world are certainly alive and kicking. Here at EvilSponge we have been behind the vision of labels such as n5MD, Resonant, and Darla for some while now. There are truly lovely things happening in the genre of emotive electronica. Acts such as Port-Royal, Hammock, and now Bitcrush are earning the right to be discussed alongside not solely peers (e.g., Ulrich Schnauss), but also luminaries such as Mogwai and beyond. Pushing against genre restraints, confounding expectation and breaking through to fresh territory are gifts denied to all but a few seminal artists, yet for my money Bitcrush always had less to do with the "beat and grind" of IDM (where Mike Cadoo started) and much more to do with pioneering indie. Shoegaze certainly, but we can no longer stick there. I could confidently trace the Bitcrush family history back through Mogwai, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, The Cure, New Order, and back to (Third) Uncle Eno himself. Just listen to the submarine descent that is A False Movement, True. Part Treasure and part Power Corruption and Lies, the effect is truly beautiful. Yet, arguably only Bitcrush could sound like this. He has made this style his own. Found his own voice and his own place alongside those great names of the past.

Pearl is an absolute gem. (Excuse the terrible pun.) Thank heavens for the post-rock/ambient/electronic artist who grasps the power of restraint. No stale, formulaic, quietLOUD pieces here. Epilogue In Waves is a fully rounded, complete album. We cannot therefore frame our discussion in terms of standout tracks. Like Bark Psychosis' Hex or Port-Royals Flares, you play this album in full. Every time. Where there HAS been plenty of discussion, it seems, is the subject of the album's meaning. Just what closure is Epilogue hinting at? Let's consider the sleeve art (as I'm prone to doing). After all, the artwork was every bit as chosen as the music which made the final cut. I see a grey-blurred ocean vista with the artist name and album title positioned below the horizon. Conclusion? Where once, Bitcrush might have played on the surface of something, this time he's going for full emersion.

He's going under.

If there is a sea change to be detected on Epilogue, could it be a move toward the feel and style of a live band? Certainly this time around there is far less emphasis on processed sound. Tides reminds me of Mew's Am I Wry? No, albeit in stately, symphonic guise. Other tracks defy the descriptive power of the written word. That, I think, is why we love music beyond, say, poetry as an art form. And if you're like me, my God you're going to love this elegiac, electrifying record.

We will wait to see then, whether Epilogue In Waves implies a turning of the page, a new chapter or a different book altogether. Could this be the last Bitcrush record? Maybe, but if he succeeds in pulling fans of one genre across to another, whether it be rock to electronic or visa versa then the death of Bitcrush will not be in vain. And if Cadoo has a band project in mind, I'll be first in line, believe me. Critics used to talk in terms of "massive crossover potential". I think Epilogue finally bridged the waters.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   Album: In Distance
   Downloadable Compilation Appearance: Intelligent Toys 3


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