[sic] Magazine

Bitcrush – of embers

As if running a terrific label isn’t enough, Mike Cadoo’s, Bitcrush goes from strength to strength as a solo musical project. Once at the forefront of IDM (as Gridlock ), Cadoo prefers nowadays to infuse his dreamy electronica with some choice indie-rock references. At times it is difficult to shake off the notion that this guy is making music purely for me. Like predictive text on a cell phone, Bitcrush tracks seem to always go in the right direction. The opening, title track for example, begins by swirling prettily enough until the most satisfying bass THRUM I’ve heard in ages announces the arrival of a more beefed up Bitcrush. I’m sold. It’s very reminiscent of the start of Sigur Ros’ Takk. The bass is so deliberate it’s almost wrought . You can hear the frets. (Always loved that, in the right song)

To think that I never even expected any further Bitcrush output. Somehow, on every instinctive, subconscious level, 2009’s Epilogue In Waves cried out, this is an ending, a line in the sand, a footnote, a post script, an epilogue…..this is your lot. It’s over. Get over it. It was also a beautiful piece of work loaded with doubt, indecision and regret. To be honest I thought, like Portal , Cadoo might have retired the Bitcrush name. In show business they say ‘leave the audience wanting more’. We wanted more Bitcrush. But where do you go after an album like ‘Epilogue…’ ? How do you follow a masterpiece? It’s like you’ve played the perfect live set – all your best pieces, in the perfect sequence, with the perfect ending.

Of Embers is the perfect encore.

I guessed/hoped he’d be back but just assumed it’d be some other guise. Somehow I was thinking ‘full band’. In many ways Of Embers sounds a good deal like a full band. I already mentioned the bass. Drumming is particularly impressive. I know Cadoo does marry live instruments to his electronica but the biggest compliment I can pay Of Embers’ is the admission I can’t always tell where .

This is a big record. A powerful, not to be argued with album. Six colossal tracks push the hour mark whilst never outstaying their welcome. Even the gargantuan 15 minute epics (there are two) slip joyously by courtesy of their many different phases and passages. At times Of Embers really rocks. How I ache to thumb through Cadoo’s record collection. I’m reminded variously of Mogwai , (‘Fray the middle to meet the ends’) The Cure (‘Dream unto fathoms’) and even the wonderful Dif Juz (the blazing guitar on ‘Ascension’) The man knows his classics.

Bolder and more optimistic than ever before, this new model Bitcrush has wrong-footed even the best of us. As the record plays out to the gorgeous two minute coda, ‘Demons and dandelions’ I wonder if it isn’t time to retire not the name but instead the familiar Bitcrush motif “have you lost your way?” We may have. But Bitcrush has certainly found his.