Bitcrush: Shimmer and Fade

Previously issued on n5MD's sub-label en:peg Digital in 2005 as a forty-eight-minute download, Shimmer and Fade returns in remastered form containing four extra tracks (one an alternate take of the originally-issued “The Missing”) not found on the original “EP.” Bitcrush may be the solo outlet for n5MD head Mike Cadoo's music-making but it's no exercise in vanity or self-indulgence. Rather Cadoo leaves his original stamp on the experimental field by deftly fusing post-rock, shoegaze, and textural soundscaping into a distinctive blend and by seamlessly integrating conventional instrumentation (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) with electronic elements in wholly convincing manner.

Cuts like “Aventious” and “The Missing” serve up the kind of tranquil and emotive electronica n5MD excels at. In the poppy “No Bridge No Water,” a grungy mix of guitars, bass, and drums meets the kind of ethereal vocalizing and chiming guitar playing one associates with shoegaze, while the blend of slow-motion post-rock and atmospheric electronica in “Every Sunday” is equally affecting. “Waiting For Something” unspools in an impassioned and controlled roar until its final, string-drenched minute, while the original EP closer “And We Fade” kicks into epic shoegaze mode about three minutes into its eight-minute run and pretty much stays there for the duration. There's no discernible lapse in quality in the four newly-added tracks, though Cadoo's singing in “When Swallowing Becomes Difficult” is a bit more ragged (perhaps by design) compared to the multi-tracked vocals appearing elsewhere. All in all, Shimmer and Fade provides a thorough accounting of Cadoo's talents and his Bitcrush persona, even if it's the embryonic one predating the subsequent 2007 and 2008 releases In Distance and Epilogue In Waves.

October 2008