Bridgetown #82 Derek Rogers – ‘Don’t Stop Bereaving’ cassette
One of the most recognizable names in the U.S. experimental scene, Derek Rogers’ second release on Bridgetown shatters the canon of his entire history with a surprise from left field. “Don’t Stop Bereaving” centers around the exploration of hard panning, rhythms, drastic volume cuts and their interactions with solid walls of sculpted tone. Disorientation plays against stability: a muted piano under rumbling bass, bells ringing through synthesized crunch, fabricated beats bouncing in and out of silence.
Bridgetown #84 Paper Armies – ‘Tell Me To Give Up’ cassette
Following up 2011’s split with Desert of Hiatus, Jason Calhoun has composed a masterful work of post-rock infused ambient. Perhaps the most cinematic and powerfully moving release on the label thus far, “Tell Me To Give Up” explodes with tidal waves of searing distortion that relentlessly tear at the heartstrings, beckoning even more melody to emerge from the rubble of one’s crumbling realization. Calhoun’s arrangements command a return to the most painful experiences of one’s life not to induce those feelings once again, but to discover that everything will be okay in the end.
Bridgetown #86 N O W – ‘Are You New Age?’ cassette/CDr
Kevin Litrow has pounded out beats as a member of 60-Watt Kid and Dance Disaster Movement for the past decade, finally coming into his own as the solo artist known as N O W. For his first solo EP, Litrow captures the fervor of his live performances over the last few years: a sole body standing before a glamorous dream world of mirrors, lights and smoke that sheds self-consciousness and awareness. There is a room, a dancefloor, a beat, and you are in it. That’s all there is. A chance to exorcise the excess and let everything go until the music stops.
Bridgetown #87 Lavas Magmas – ‘INT.eruption’ cassette
A mainstay of the Portland experimental scene, Luis Gonzalez has tinkered with sophisticated noise composition, sound design and developed homemade instruments for years. His works are often characterized by ominous, industrial overtones sweeping over an immersive world of post-apocalyptic anxiety. On this full-length album, Gonzalez has crafted meticulous arrangements evocative of natural environments: insects chirping in a swamp, the grinding of tectonic plates, an angelic choir filling an echoing cave below the earth’s surface. This elaborate landscape is as much a living, breathing organism as it is a network of rusted factories, metal clattering and ringing out in the halls of a failed utopia long after human extinction.
Bridgetown #88 Torn Humorist – ‘Everyone Works So Hard’
Laying his Trudgers project to rest, Brent Mitzner has returned under the guise of Torn Humorist to infiltrate new concepts in home-taping. “Everyone Works So Hard” is a testament to the 8-track tape machine as a vehicle for instrumentation. Synthetic sheets of melody are fabricated from dense layering of guitar and viola as the tapes are sped up, slowed down, pitch shifted, EQed and layered again and again into abstractions that bear little resemblance to their original form. A swirl of textures twist into and out of each other in the pool of self-reflection, leaving more questions unanswered than before.
Bridgetown #89 Reighnbeau – ‘Friends’ cassette
Reighnbeau’s sophomore release for Bridgetown serves as an adventurous contrast to the sparsity and silence that dominated 2012’s “Ashes.” On “Friends,” Bryce Hample twists the methods of shoegaze and slowcore into softer, acoustic-based miniatures. The result is a unique and captivating collection of songs that embrace quiet moments with a dynamic liveliness. The warmth of plucked nylon strings, breathy vocals and sparse drumming have a distinctly organic nature; a refreshing escape from the typical effect pedal overload commonly associated with shoegaze.
Bridgetown #90 School Knights – ‘Lethargy’ cassette
Two and a half years after their Bridgetown debut, School Knights return with a richly multi-faceted album. The eight songs that comprise “Lethargy” shun the notion that rock music is meant to be lazy or simple. School Knights have achieved a level of maturity rare among their peers, and have spun a complex web of rhythms, harmonies and song structures that remains immediate, accessible and fully gratifying, as rock has always been throughout its history. “Lethargy” bursts with a propulsive energy that effortlessly bends around shifting time signatures and races towards the ten-minute magnum opus of a cliffhanger “And the Moon Descends Upon the Temple, Which Was.”