#15permonth — Month #1

I wanted to find a way of balancing out my monthly Spotify subscription (£14.99 Family Plan) with money that went direct (or as direct as possible) to the musicians who make music I like. So I made myself a promise that I would spend at least £15 per month on Bandcamp. Here’s what I found — by Ian Dowling.

N.B. for many of these I opted to round up to the nearest £, and sometimes paid a £ over the odds if I particularly enjoyed the music. I found my psychology around this quite interesting. I got pleasure from paying the extra, and enjoyed writing the artist a note thanking them. It felt like a connection. A very small connection but nevertheless…

  1. Rose Bonica — Send Forgiveness/Disengage

This is great! I love its simplicity. The bassline is doing alll the work, but that’s all you need for an undeniable groove — the right bass. The rest of the production is just the right balance of lofi and highbrow I like. I’m going to be keeping an eye on what she does next, for sure. £3.40 inc tax. Unbelievable bargain. I must have listened to it 10 times already.

2. Krl Mx — FC Arrogance

This rather neatly conforms to one of my favourite genre descriptions of all time, from Andrew Weatherall. Ready? Okay. I’d say this is ‘full-knacker panel-beaters-from-Prague-’ere-we-go techno’. But, unlike so many others like it, this seems to have a real sensitivity at its core. Yes the kicks are aggressive, and the percussion rattles around like paperclips in a metal cup, but in the synths there is a subtlety and a humanity that hints at a more complex character then your average hard techno headbanger. £7 for a 5 track EP, and I think I rounded this one up too. I’m also very fond of the artwork.

3. Special Request — Pull Up (Tim Reaper Remix)

Brilliant jungly vibes on this, but given somewhat of a ‘Burial’ treatment (sorry Tim, you are the victim of my favourite sweeping references). It speaks of driving through east or south London, in a black cab, at 4am, much the worse for wear. Like when you get a cool cab driver and they’re tuing in to all the cool pirate radio that’s going on in London all the time. £3.40 inc tax for this one. I think I lopped in an extra quid. I was finding this whole experience quite heady, and I was spraying cash around like a bloody madman.

4. Clarice Jansen — Ainu Mosir

This felt like a wonderful find. I went down a couple of rabbit holes, scooted around for a bit, then somehow ended up listening to this. It’s an achingly beautiful and evocative album, written as a soundtrack to a Japanese film (I must confess, I have not seen it), but as an album in its own right I think its breathtaking. The dynamic range, the wonderful spaces between notes. The subtle and powerful production backdrop to the piano and cello parts. Absolute belter. I paid $7 for this. I can’t do the maths really, but about a fiver? Depending on when you’re reading this….Anyway, go and buy it, in any currency.

5. REZN — Mirrored Mirage Dub

It’s a well known fact that you can walk into any record shop in the world, buy a dub record, and be confident it will be good. There’s just something so satisfying about that crusty sound, the acres of effects and the laidback, no metronome vibe. This has all that and more. Skanky guitars? Check. Reverby horns? Check. Ghostly vocal samples? Check. $2.20. £1.50? Whatever it cost, it was worth it.

So those were all my picks this week. I hope I may have turned you on to something you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. I must say, I’m really getting into the whole Bandcamp vibe now. I’ll just go to a genre category and press the play button at the top of the page, and just let whatever is there unfurl. It’s very much like spending hours in a record shop. You won’t like everything, but its all new and exciting, and when you do hear something you like you grab it from the shelf, or ask the counter guy/girl what it is and “please, take my money!”. That’s how I felt while doing this. It was a really nice feeling and it made me realise how much I missed experiencing recorded music in this way.

Until next month!

© At Swim Ltd. Creative Arts 2021

At Swim Ltd. is a creative arts company that likes to do things differently.

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At Swim is a creative arts company based in the UK. You’ll find writing here from At Swim contributors and the artists we’re working with.

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At Swim is a creative arts company based in the UK. You’ll find writing here from At Swim contributors and the artists we’re working with.

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