Rasmus Birk: Homespun (Black Cottage, 2021)

March 15, 2021 at 8:39 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Rasmus Birk: Homespun

Rasmus Birk is signed to Atlanta-based Black Cottage Records, home to Applesauce Tears, and apparently shares members with other acts on the label. While this album can be loosely filed as indie electronic, there’s a bit less of a cinematic, almost post-rock feel to it than Applesauce Tears, and more of a mischievous, sample-happy bent. Reminds me a little of the ’90s label Slabco, but without any presence of sung lyrics, and with glitchier beats at times. But it definitely has a D.I.Y. spirit and a somewhat goofy sense of humor, with song titles like “Hottie Art Teacher” and “Lark’s Tongue in Asbestos”. “Clad in Homespun” is a chipper opener with a catchy sample (“Lose touch with the real world”) along with some twinkling organ textures and plenty of offbeat ear-catching sounds. “I Married a Bog Woman” is slower and a bit more mysterious and scientific, and also gets more haunting when the beat changes up. “Second Wetting” is more distraught dwelling on an emotional breakdown during a recording session. “Hottie Art Teacher” is a dreamy burst of glitchy vocals and soothing beats which unexpectedly ends up with thumping 4/4 kicks and a dark cloud of synth noise and crickets. The shadowy “Lark’s Tongue in Asbestos” plays games with a sample of a tight-lipped figure who doesn’t want to come out into the light and speak to a questioning officer. “Invisible Weapon” is one of the most shapeshifting tracks here, going from a perplexing mix of skipping beats, dark flutes, and turntable scratches to baby screams and more of a daytime TV show vibe, with all sorts of wailing ghosts behind it. And then there’s tumbling arpeggios and more beat changes. “Meat Is Manslaughter” revolves around samples about a guy who choked on a piece of meat, and it’s both playful and highly unsettling. Final track “I Lost My Nerve (In the Photo Booth)” starts out with a cheerful cocktail party vibe, but then gets haunting, with more downcast guitars and the chilling repeated sample “I lost my nerve”. Not quite the same sort of creepy, morbid sense of humor as Tobacco, and not nearly as abrasive, but similar in how it makes you question how serious it all is, and if you should feel disturbed or not.

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