Bitcrush - Collapse
By: Brett Spaceman
Bitcrush is the musical vehicle of n5MD founder Mike Cadoo (also of Dryft and formerly Gridlock) Cadoo, like many of today’s electronica exponents was influenced by the Mogwai debut long player, Young Team. But Collapse is the fifth main Bitcrush album and things have moved on somewhat. Collapse sees a new Cadoo. This Bitcrush has been to the gym, buffed up and is now bench-pressing twice its own bodyweight. Collapse rocks the motherload. And if Cadoo still thinks about Mogwai then he’s probably remembering the Mogwai that listened to Black Sabbath as well as The Cure and Slint. The nugazey element, far from a thing of the past, is certainly toned down in favour of power riffs. Get your devil horn fingers at the ready it’s headbanging time.
Don’t worry, I may have laid it on a bit thick there but this is still Bitcrush we’re talking about. Yet in truth there were signs of a shift toward heavier rock territories on predecessor Of Embers. Collapse is merely a natural progression. And we’re only talking moments. The rumbling, gargantuan wig outs are infrequent touches which serve to nuance the latest album. Aside from this there’s plenty of Bitcrush ‘business as usual’ here too.’ …For A Void’ is another of those ‘Bernard Sumner or Robert Smith jamming in an Eno track’ kind of pieces I could never tire of. Yet overall, Collapse sees Cadoo the guitarist more expressive and moving toward more progressive structures closer to the likes of Fripp and Gilmour.
Strange how despite the power on display the songtitle’s remain resolutely hopeless. Recurrent Cadoo themes flow through these titles such as loss and decay whilst the guitars sound like they could shatter mount Olympus at fifty paces. ‘To Collapse Into’ might be the albums central track with low bass hum and infectious chords taking us towards a climactic central metal fest. ‘All At Once It was Erased’ has the best riff of all making it my personal standout. You’ll wait over two minutes for those guitars to ignite the ambience but its well worth it.
Bitcrush has been working out and the result is a beefed up, confident album not to be fucked with. But does all that muscle tone overcompensate for an inherent insecurity? At times Collapse shifts us towards the heavier rock territories of acts such as Pelican or God Is An Astronaut. Theoretically that should signal a shift away from my core preferences and yet Collapse works. Maybe iTunes summarise it better having placed Collapse under the genre ‘Symphonic rock’, instead of the previous ‘Electronica’ tag. Whatever. Do try to hear this on a decent system though. There’s too much going on in the background that’ll be lost or wasted in compressed or ‘on the move’ environment.