Monday, February 20, 2012

BPM Ensemble - Rechargeable vol. 2

'Battery-Powered Electronic Music', 'Drum Circle 2.0', 'Epic Mass of grinding handheld techno (!!!)'; these are all phrases that catch my eyes and make my ears stand up like antennae. Due to my recent fondness of shitty 80s cheapness, i have found warmth towards 8 bit, which i never had much use for.

Battery Powered Music is a bi-weekly event at Backspace, where they open up the stage and the mixer for a bunch of analog fetishists to throw down and make some strange sounds. As they put it, its more r2-d2 than rjd2, post-hippy jam sesh, i have been intrigued to hear what a mess of insectile, buzzing electronics would sound like.

'Rechargeable Vol. 2' is the cream of the live sets from 2010 - 2011, available as a limited-edition cassette or for download off of Bandcamp, for whatever price you see fit. They've also got an archive up on SoundCloud. The overall effect, which of course is rather varied, since it was recorded on many a night, over the span of 2 years, runs the gamut from Congolese junkyard techno, to gritty hip hop, to Tron atari punk.

There's just no faking that 8 bit sound, that sound of cheap nastiness. It has a hint of nostalgia, for me, being a creature of the 80s, but it sounds more like protest. Like irrationality, raging against the hype machine. Ninja strikes in the night, making music for the sheer bloody minded thrill of sonic exploration. For me, what thrills me the most, is seeing people 'jamming', ie getting together, using unconventional sounds and instruments, breaking down genres and barriers.

More adventure! More exploration! More community!

If you live in Portland, BPM is going on tonight, at Backspace, and every other Mon. and if you don't, you can check out our retroxoticism.

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