Inconditional is out now via Little L Records.
We’ve always been a bit partial to unconventional music here at Overblown, and that’s probably the best way to describe Canadian electronic duo Bas Relief. Their debut album Inconditional is a glorious mix match of styles, ranging from Steve Reich-esque loops to jagged stabs of piano to ethereal vocals and busy math rock drumming. This seven track LP is an eclectic mix with samples of everyone from Shania Twain to Julien Baker, creating an expansive and warm sound that explores without being dissonant.
We had a chat with the duo about the inspiration and writing of each track on the album. Listen and learn.
Pick up the record via Little L Records.
The song that best represents our general “sound” and our mutual influences. “Songwriting” on a computer can be pretty spontaneous and arbitrary. Was listening to some Kara-Lis Coverdale and YouTube recommended some Colin Stetson, so we made a loop out of some clips from those, wrote a ridiculous drum phrase over it, and made this wacky and fast thing. Same process with the last part using the Braids samples, from the song “Companion”. We’re all about the irrelevant coda, using the place where you’d “drop” to explore something unrelated to the rest of the song.
The melodic foundation of this one came from a few recording sessions that happened in New Jersey in February 2016. Guitars and rhodes were performed by Corey Mastrangelo (Vasudeva), Josh Marre (Blue Ranger, Pinegrove) and David Mitchell (Bas Relief). This is one of our first tracks that experiments with a beatless, swelling, meditative passage. The coda that follows that was made to be rhythmically spacious, yet staccato and driving, not really giving you exactly what you wanted. Or maybe giving you something you didn’t expect.
3. Club Piscine
This song is completely arbitrary in terms of the process. Just having fun with repurposing sounds, trying to write weird drum parts that meander rather than anchor. Was listening to lots of Julien Baker and Mother Evergreen at the same time that we were bothering our friend Xavier for material to sample. He gave us some rad piano he recorded with his friend, and then helped us finish the tune!
4. Restaurant Equipment
This was quickly compiled around a nervous guitar riff. David had just gotten his bass tuned up and this ended up being the only song on the record with real bass guitar on it. Milo was over tracking post-bass and we spliced a tiny section for the outro. This was the first song written for the record, in that weird kind of limbo that occurs when you’re still figuring yourself out musically.
5. Liquid Edge
Wanted to cut some breaks around 160bpm with new drum samples that we recorded from Will’s own kit. Was pretty successful but then we slowed down the track, which was also successful! So successful we almost slowed down every track on the record. Ultimately decided we didn’t want a self-bootlegged album.
6. Laval Lounge
This jam is creepy as hell, totally unrelated to the rest of anything we’ve ever done. Very industrial and arbitrary, we constructed it using only our own material (save for a kick sample we layered over our own). Trying to capture an insidious, back-room lounge atmosphere.
7. Wet Planet
Rhodes and guitar samples are loose and directionless. A lot of of this track is about holding back and meandering through little ideas and patterns. Love the sample we used of the guy who plays the huge rocks. Just totally fell in love with that idea and had to incorporate it.