Bandcamp Picks

Bandcamp Picks of the Week 1/28/2021

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Bandcamp Picks for the week of 1/28/2021, featuring Malakhim’s THEION and Yu Su’s YELLOW RIVER BLUE!

Malakhim Theion

Malakhim – THEION

Genre: Black Metal

Favorite Tracks: “Merciless Angel of Pestilence,” “Slither O Serpent”

I’m obsessed with the drums on Malakhim’s THEION. Based on the Bandcamp liner notes, the Swedish black metal band seem to have recorded them separately from the rest of the record, and on my first listen to the group’s long-anticipated first record, that drum part is all I could think about—there’s a space to them that feels almost jarring on first listen, a kind of omnipresent distance from everything else happening on these songs. And yet, the more times I run through THEION, the more I kind of find them to be the album’s most endearing quality, an air-sucking atmospheric component that makes everything else Malakhim are doing that much more powerful and heavy. And make no bones about it: THEION is extremely powerful and heavy, fusing the apocalyptic energy of modern black metal with a speed and fury that urges the world to end already so we can get back to throwing up our metal horns and headbang. Opener “There Is A Beacon” eases us into the doom, but it’s on the following middle of the record that the best tracks come. “Merciless Angel of Pestilence” is a no-holds-barred speed metal cut where vocalist E’s hungry growls feel like a military chant amidst the unrelenting drums, and “Slither O Serpent” the engulfed-in-flames fallout of that march. The fire tornado intensity of “Hammer of Satan,” or the pure concussive chaos of “The Splendour of Sillborn Stars” (not to mention the names of the songs themselves) are, to some larger degree, part and parcel to the musical world that Malakhim traverse in, but THEION is nevertheless an exciting and bombastic example of the genre. You can unleash it over on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]

Yu Su Yellow River Blue

Yu Su – YELLOW RIVER BLUE

Genre: Deep-Krautrock, Avant-Electronic

Favorite Tracks: “Futuro,” “Touch Me Not,” “Melaleuca,” “Dusty”

Vancouver-by-way-of-Kaifeng, China producer Yu Su’s debut album, YELLOW RIVER BLUE, feels like the soundtrack to a foggy rave that’s pumped with the smell of cucumber and lavender. The record plays into the tropes of Ridgewood, New York avant-electronic producers like Huerco S. and DJ Python, but incorporates a dreary, sterile palette that brings to mind the dismal glory of her Pacific Northwest basecamp. “Futuro”’s taiko drum-driven groove wouldn’t sound out of place in the action sequence of a spy movie, and recalls Long Island Electrical Systems artist Tzusing, were the Malaysian producer to strip away the trademark layers of brutal, FM synthesizer noise that make his work so painful. “Touch Me Not” at once sounds like Kelly Lee Owens and Philip Glass, its glitchy pianos and blipping arpeggios recalling the feeling of walking through a minimal art exhibition in a pre-pandemic world. Best of all, “Dusty” puts a chillwave spin on a trip hop groove and sounds like the background instrumental for a hypothetical Washed Out cover of a Portishead track. YELLOW RIVER BLUE is a calming but energetic journey whose soothing loops evoke the wonder of an expansive ocean or the scent of dewy grass. If the most pretentious IDM records mirror David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, YELLOW RIVER BLUE is like Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle—it’ll hold up alongside its densest peers, but even your mom can grasp and enjoy it. Zone out to Yu Su on Bandcamp today. [Ted Davis]

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