Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Bicep – Apricots

A musical flex…


Katherine St Asaph: The old Enigma trick of building moody downtempo synths around a sample presented as exotica — in this case two samples, one from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (as also heard on 4AD and Kate Bush records) and Malawian song “Gebede-gebede Ulendo Wasabwera,” by unnamed singers recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. Bicep do at least try harder to highlight the vocalists heard, relentlessly, throughout their song — though that trying doesn’t extend, as far as I can tell, to an actual credit, and it’s telling whose voices on the record are chopped into context-free sound effects and whose get to be “kept uncluttered.” Whatever and wherever the guilt, though, there’s still pleasure.

Thomas Inskeep: A decade ago, this largely instrumental slab of soaring techno (with a repetitive vocal sample that sounds like a chant over the course of the song) would’ve made for a transportive moment in the Sahara tent at Coachella. Nowadays, it’s still transportive — at the proper volume, in my apartment.

Jeffrey Brister: Nothing but beautiful, sad vibing here, watching the sun rise over a cyberpunk dystopia city, the neon night giving way to the murky tones of dawn. I’m utterly lost in this — in the precision and simplicity of its construction, its simple layering managing to do so much work.

Samson Savill de Jong: I don’t do drugs, I’m sat alone in my bedroom, and I like this. A lot. I daren’t imagine how transcendent this would be to someone out of their mind on acid at an all night rave. I could talk about how well controlled all its elements are, how tight the instrumentation is without being stiff, about how the main “melody” sound could’ve, possibly should’ve, been extremely annoying but instead is forced to submit to the power of the song, but sometimes you just have to stand back and admire something, especially when it’s this uncompromisingly sure of itself.

Juana Giaimo: There are many things that I find interesting about “Apricots”. I like the kind of chant that appears after half a minute, the low trembling keyboards in the background and the tense and piercing sound. It is all covered under that rather annoying vocal loop, and unfortunately it only shuts up towards the end.

Oliver Maier: It’s easy to imagine the kind of song that Bicep thought that they were making here. Something like “Only Human” or “Gosh”, the secret weapon that some lad at a house party that you’ve somehow ended up at might queue as soon as he gains control of the Bluetooth speakers in the vain hopes that someone might compliment him on his excellent taste. The problem is that it treads water for its entire duration and never tries for the deep end, either sonically (there’s no bass) or figuratively (keeps acting like it’s going to bang at some point; never does).

Alfred Soto: A throwback but not smotheringly so: I played it after Avalon Emerson’s “Rotting Hills” for a double dose of Balearic bliss. Guess I’m a sucker for sustained synth chords. Fuzzy and sweet.

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