“While quarantined, I sat down that first week and wrote whatever came to me and found the instant gratification of such creation to quell the anxieties that come with such unprecedented uncertainty. It was after that first track that I thought of the idea of writing a song a week during the lock down with the parameters being that I would limit myself to a simple set of tools and instruments as well as restricting edits of works to be completed in the week the work was conceived. This release “Alone, together” was never envisioned as an album per se, but so far, we are way more than nine weeks into this pandemic, and I’m not sure I can do it anymore. With the track WK9 written the day when the US hit 100,000 deaths, I need to leave it here, and I hope and pray (in my own way) that things will get better soon. As I write this, tensions in the US are at the most significant level that I have seen in my lifetime. With the current president trying his very best to instate a mock dictatorship while having a dementia scope on reality. The racism that is still, for some god awful reason, a thing in the US is adding to the tense nature of our collective feelings. I hope in at least part of these nine tracks you might find something to give you solace from all that is transpiring around us. A moment to feel something other than the anxiety that comes with these times. I know these works all have a darker cinematic theme, but those who know me personally and have listened to my output realise, I’m never going to make something pleasant when so much turmoil is the norm.”
Doing a blog you get sent a lot of material that is timed into release patterns and fed through promotional channels with full intent about “getting the word out there”. Then there are releases that just pop up nicely from nowhere like this one. For those not in the know Mike Cadoo records as Dryft, Bitcrush and M. Cadoo as well as being the man behind the n5MD empire. He just sent this along obligation free, more as “I thought you might enjoy this, no need to review it” rather than “here is my new release, it is available on xyz channels”. Just reading the above quote taken straight from his bandcamp page indicates the swirling vortex of emotions that are filtered through him and channelled into the music. Through our correspondences we have kept each up to date with our respective situations and naturally not being based in the US mine have been quite different to what is going on in his country. Just two days before this dropped the senseless murder of George Floyd occurred which has added an extra layer of tension and unrest in the United States. What it has also done is enacted some form of catalyst for change which is finding situations and events being enacted on a daily basis. Hopefully these changes reset things in the world in the right direction.
Being that this was presumably composed prior to George Floyd’s death, the pieces would be more inspired by the pandemic, lock down and political situations in the US. The nine pieces entitled “WK1” through to “WK9” are consistent with the music he releases under his own name (compared to the noisier post rock through to Industrial and electronic styles that he unleashes as either Dryft or Bitcrush) as well as the music that you are familiar with his label. Although not as dark as “Teres Major”, the track he submitted for the split with Dalot on Gavin Miller’s This Is It Forever label, there is a relationship between it and more melodic forms of electronica influenced ambience. That said, the last moments of “WK2” get very close. Vocal samples evoke his good friend and fellow artist Brock Van Wey. The simple way of titling the pieces after the week in which they were constructed strips any preconceived opinions on what the pieces might sound like or their intention and opens up any possibility to the listener based on their own interpretation or mood. None of the pieces are minimal and neither do they venture into noisier territory, instead they embrace moody passages. luminous synth pads, subtle bass rumbles, cavernous drones and recording of dialogue from news reports. Even the more distant, dark, cold opening of “WK3” is broken down by a melodic section that has an uplifting feel before returning whence it came. There is a fairly consistent feel throughout the album with the exceptions being “WK8” with it’s noir like, almost “Twin Peaks” theme feel and the devastating news reports that bring a sombre reality to “WK9”. My personal favourite is “WK6” which opens with a section that is a faint version of its later self that after a brief vocal loop the track really finds itself and has an exultant feeling to it.
At the end of the press quote Cadoo states that he wouldn’t make something pleasant when there is so much turmoil going on. That said “Alone, Together” does not become a monument to despair. Instead it reflects the time, while still having hope sprinkled throughout it.”Alone, Together” is a release that could easily have been released by n5MD or indeed his fellow Oaklander’s at Constellation Tatsu or Inner Islands. If you have been a fan of his various works or you, like me, are a little fanboy-ish to his label, then you will lap this up as well. “Alone, Together” is available Digitally.