Here we feature the likes of The Person, Eden Burns and Willebrant.
Hello and welcome to Beat’s best of Bandcamp, a fortnightly roundup of the best new Melbourne/Naarm bands and artists making waves on the internet’s most indispensable music platform.
If you’ve been meaning to buy some new music, are a seasoned Bandcamp veteran looking for something fresh, or are simply intrigued at what Bandcamp has to offer, then this column will have you covered every two weeks with Victoria’s finest.
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Not sure if you’ve noticed, but outside of the just-announced five-day lockdown, going out is back in a big way in Melbourne. Clubs are finding their groove again, pubs are making the most of their outdoor spaces and it seems like everyone in town is desperate to wring as much partying as they can from the last few weeks of summer.
Enter Big Beat Manifesto Vol. II by Eden Burns. The Melbourne-based producer and New Zealand native already made waves with the first volume, and if the first tastes of this one are anything to go by, then it’s set to be even hotter.
There’s a distinctly Down Under flair to Burns’ take on big beat, the synthesizer-heavy genre that was born in London in the ‘80s. ‘Invercargill’ is a percussion-heavy foot-tapper that is as tropical and humid as club tracks can come. For fans of DJ Plead, K-Lone and Roza Terenzi, it’s a pre-drinks firestarter that’s addictive and moreish.
On the other hand, ‘Intro Manus’ leans into the acid house end of the spectrum, spluttering up unintelligible vocal samples as it fizzes and cracks like it’s about to shut down completely. Stellar stuff.
Big Beat Manifesto Vol. II is out now via Bandcamp.
Willebrant is Karl Willebrant, a Melbourne ambient artist who plays with drones, synths and field recordings to create immersive soundtracks. His latest four-track EP, Coastal___, is a beautiful balm for the mind – a collection of tracks that pay tribute to the calm you find when roaming along the coast.
While this sort of thing is all the rage at the moment — understandably so, given the circumstances we find ourselves in — Willebrant’s take on meditative music is both refreshingly authentic and technically impressive. Across the record, Willebrant plays the piccolo bass and slide, electric bass, electric guitar and EBow, kalimba, and synths, creating music that sounds like it has been plucked from nature itself.
‘Solus’ begins with the gentle lapping of waves, growing into a sprawling synth excursion that’s utterly hypnotic and deeply relaxing. As it draws to a close with the sound of crickets humming, ‘Change’ begins – and the cool change finally hits. As the pitter-patter of rain gives way to the creak of the EBow, the sounds that come together here are completely transportative, and far more soothing than any sleep sounds Google Home can conjure up for you.
Coastal___ is out now on Bandcamp.
Speaking of coastal music, here’s a completely different interpretation by Minna Wright, who makes music as The Person. Wright’s Bandcamp page explains that “[Tide Life maps] its own Bermuda Triangle between dub-pop, sugary synthwave and Balearic boogie … providing maximum fun, sun and bitmap escapism.”
If that doesn’t mean much to you, let me put it another way: Tide Life sounds like the soundtrack to a long-lost Super Nintendo Home & Away game. Wright lists the Super Nintendo, Summer Bay, Wave Race and Monkey Island as references, and their influence here couldn’t be more on the nose. If you could make cocktails out of library music, ‘Barry R Reef’ is what they’d call it – a track so satisfyingly kitsch that it makes the Knight Rider soundtrack sound stale.
Tide Life traverses dubby balearica in a way that leaves you slightly on edge rather than entirely blissed out, but that’s what’s so fun about it. “Minna disguises serious musicianship behind a naive aesthetic,” ends the blurb on her page, which couldn’t be more true of this hidden gem.
Tide Life is out now via Bandcamp.
Check out our last Beat’s best of Bandcamp column here, featuring June Jones, Helena Svoboda and Alex Albrecht.