Friday, 20 September 2013

Breaking The Bits - Bye-Product And His Bi-Product

Hello and welcome once again to another Breaking The Bits, a very poorly maintained series of blogs talking about my favorite independent label. Today, I've decided to talk about an artist that I've grown to enjoy from Breakbit. That being Bye-Product. Bye-Product is another interesting character. I happened to know about Bye-Product by his EP, Biohazard. It was a relatively nice EP, it had a very alien feeling to it that I've now begun to admire and expect from musicians. I particularly found myself enjoying The World Is A Dark Sea not only for it's poetic title but for its poetic feeling. The song embodied the title perfectly and it really makes me happy to see a song that fits its title so tightly like that. I'll admit that I didn't think much else of him, not because I didn't like his work, but because other artists grabbed my interest and I hadn't seen much else of him at the site, save from his guest appearances on other albums. Then I decided to search him again and found that there was a lot more that he was willing to offer on his Bandcamp. It's also interesting to note that I found out that he actually has a lot of aliases, in fact Bye-Product isn't his main alias. As much as I enjoy his work, there was one in particular that really got my attention. Before I get to that, let's talk a little more about his music.

Now, like many artists on Breakbit, Bye-Product has the ability to make experimentation seem entertaining as the different choices and styles really add into the bizarre nature that draws me in as a listener. Each of these artists, I feel takes their experimentation in a different path of expression. mrSimon and glue70, for example, goes about experimentation as trying to combine the old with the new whilst being his own, with mrSimon leaning more on the nostalgic side where as glue70 goes for the new age approach. Orangy and Vaervaf care more about their own path and define themselves idiosyncratically with Orangy breaking the barriers between genres and Vaervaf destroying genres in general. Whilst each of these artists have the tendency to dip in with ideas that others put forward, they still maintain their image. That's all fine and dandy, but where exactly does this manage to relate to Bye-Product? Bye-Product, I believe, is sort of the man that tries it all and goes with his own path, still unsure of what holds forward to him. When you hear his music, you know there's something going for it, but it's a journey for both of them. It takes bits of what his world has and allows him to create something else out of it, much like how an artist should. The way he does it though it what makes him stand out.

The Chapter Albums (2011)

The Chapter Albums consist of three entries, Life, Death and Love, specifically in that order. All the subjects that are in the titles share the fact that they are very expansive material and widely talked about among others. Each cover shows an object that is covered completely by darkness, with Life being a man in a cap under two spotlights, Death being an out of focus full moon probably hidden behind something made of glass and Love having a disco ball covered with blue lights. I do like that feel, it adds a lot more mystery to the albums themselves and connects them all in a clever way. If I may go a bit farther with this, I think it represents how we seem to always be aware of these aspects in our minds but that in the grand scheme of it all, it's completely surrounded by ambiguity and is never given the proper answer. I find it perplexing that Death wouldn't be the end, but rather Love. I suppose it's to purposeful break the usual order or perhaps that Bye-Product just had them in that order arbitrarily.

Life is a very unfocused album in the sense that you wouldn't really think it's that tied to the subject matter. Each song seems to encompass something different than the last. You first have Fade In, which is just a drum solo edited weirdly and then it goes to Just Run Away From Here, which is aptly fitting because it sounds like a song you would play as you're running away. Then you have Nite Ride which is more softer, but then it moves to Accidents which is more trippy and somewhat unsettling in a good way instead of Bruse which seems more fitting to follow Nite Ride. I'm not sure what I can say about And An Era Ended, it's not sounding like the title and it's not evoking any real emotion. It does sound well though. It concludes with Cry Out Memories which is a fitting ending, since it leaves you puzzled but also intrigued. In fact, that's how the album can be described. Oddly, it's quite fitting to what life is. Confusing, but interesting.

Death is a little more structured, as most of the songs are tie-in more into what death can be. Underground, for example, sounds like the last bit before it all ends, which is odd since it's the beginning, but the end song Heart Falure echoes the same emotions only a lot more powerfully and somewhat subversive. Heart Falure sounds as if it's it's an attempt to bring Life back in, with the sounds of a more calmer and beautiful melody seeping in as it progresses until the slowdown indicates that it is staying back to the original theme. Car Accident could also be considered another "moment before death" tune as it shows the frantic energy of someone encountering a terrible death. Died is another track that's worth mentioning to the relation to the title because it seems to almost sound like the reaction that others have with someone dying, questioning fate in general. The other songs like Eighteen, Teenager Hipsters Like Me, Stab In The Dark don't really seem to make that much sense relating to the title. All sound good, each holding some sort of catchy beat that later gets altered, but none really take in the title. I could maybe argue the case for Teenager Hipsters Like Me perhaps mirroring the feel of how people think about the afterlife with it at first seeming like a clear answer but then turning into a barrage of unclear noise, but the rest not so much. It's still a solid album.

Love is a great conclusion because it does embody it's title very well with each entry. Warmth and Love Box have the tenderness of love down to a tee, Hot Jaz and Lush Lips get the friendly nature that helps in a relationship, Paranoid Love and Do The Right Thing capture the feeling of the thoughts that go by the minds of those who are in love and Sexual Favor is a somewhat psychedelic tune relating to the art of making love. Each song has it's own way of being soft and pleasant, leaving a nice feeling as you go through each track. It has it's moments of mood-breaking, particularly with Paranoid Love and Do The Right Thing, but it's nothing too striking. It's funny that this album isn't as vague with the motions as the other two, but perhaps it draws from a more simplistic, idealistic view of love. Yet, that approach makes the album work and sound organic.

Religion (2011)

Much like Life, Religion is somewhat unfocused, but unlike Life, Religion has a lot more songs and doesn't completely let the shift in mood from it's tracks detract from the title of the album. There are a good amount that fit with the title of religion particularly Feild Trip to Heven, πano, Raptured, WHAT'S THE GOOD WORD, Good Lord, Demonic Possession and Call Me Jesus (both this one and (George's [of The Brother's In Shit] "I KNEW JESUS BEFORE HE WENT MAINSTREAM" Mix) in particular). Those are the ones that usually capture more of the spirit of religious music, with epic choruses or somber samples encompassing the music. Mostly throughout the album, there is heavy reference to Christianity (though there is also a mix of others done with more subtlety), and judging by the hidden track, most of the music is meant as sort of a jab towards religion. It's hard to say whether it's done in good fun, or done with some other intent, perhaps to denounce it.

On the one hand, it's tossed around as if it's nothing and manages to be unfitting to titles like Sex Drugs and Allah which sounds more like a experimental mix and Jesus Is Pretty Gangster not really taking in either the Jesus part or the gangster part. Hell, there's just random songs like Bruce Springsteen (which sounds like harmonica lounge music) and Dubstep Shit that don't really have anything to do with the subject. At the same time, the songs sound like they're taking in the ideas of religious music and adapting it to a more modern setting, whilst at the same time, changing it with other techniques. It could also be that it's more of a deconstruction considering the aggressive tone of some of the songs, but it's hard to say for sure. It does feel like it's asking a lot of questions towards it, whatever those are I'm not certain of. It's got a lot of remixes in it too, which are done pretty well and generally speaking it's a memorable album.

Star (2012)

Star is much like Love in that there is a better focus based on the title. According to the info that is on the Bandcamp to this album, it is basically a compilation of different artists's and mashed together in a new and incomprehensible manner. So it's safe to say that the reason that it's called Star is because the songs that it samples are from very famous musicians rather than go with something a little more abstractly conceptual like his other works. There isn't really much else to dig deep into with this album in terms of  "meaning", and that's fine. What it does, it does well, and that's rearranging bits and pieces of other songs into something new and catchy. My favorites are Awards Lost, George Clooney and Blockbuster with each of them having a good sense of the energy that the want to channel and flowing well. It's decent enough and I think it would be a good album to start with if you want to get into his work.

chris††† (2013)

Now, there is a lot more of Bye-Product I can talk about. Gil, Dad's Camera, '98, .GIF, stab something, Cordless Soul Machine, and I'm sure there's some other stuff I missed. But I want to focus on chris††† because it was the one that made me enjoy Bye-Product's work the most. It is quite possibly some of the best surrealism music that I've heard, because it just manages to take similar sounds and tamper with them so majestically. It shows how strong Bye-Product's experimentation can go because it creates that atmosphere where you are not to expect anything and simply take in the mood. Every song really feels like a developed story that takes you somewhere and you don't know where that exactly is. Songs like blind lie, LUV and ビジネスウィーク sound like they might have a point, but you never try to focus where or not it means something more of if there really is a point, you just enjoy how the broken/altered record sound that resonates in the music takes you over. The addition of the album covers and the weird titles makes the music that much more cryptic. There may be some sort of a key that could reveal more of what it all means, it sure is framed in such a manner that it makes it seem as though something is greater at play, but you as the listener will never know for sure. It is the perfect representation of what Bye-Product is all about, an artist who embodies the confusing beauty and the hectic complexity of what our world is all about.