See Blue Audio SBA 036
2. Acider II
3. Saint Des Leurs
5. One-Hundred FM
6. Twenty-Four Nods
7. Twenty-Seven Radars
9. Burn III
11. Was Thirty-Four
Release date: 17 June 2022
See Blue Audio: ambient / electronic / beatless / cinematic / downtempo / eclectic / introspective… Shade rather than light...
Sometimes time's arrow can fly backwards rather than forwards or perhaps even follow a circular path. Such is the case with 'Praeludium' by Bagaski, the thirty-sixth release on See Blue Audio. It's also his third for the label following the 'Final' album in April 2021 and then 'Dash', consisting of two longform tracks and the opening release of 2022. 'Praeludium' completes this trilogy, but not in an orthodox sense as it also represents a return to the beginning; time is ever-shifting in the musical landscape of Bagaski.
Similarly, the titles 'Final' and 'Dash' hold little clue to the music within, and the same can be said of 'Praeludium', an archaic version of prelude and predominantly used in a musical context. It's better, therefore, to consider this new album as a foreshadowing of its predecessors, and, in this way, a mercurial concept of time makes more sense.
All three have much in common as they travel through the artist's unique perspective on lo-fi, exotica, vaporwave, synth noise, cold wave electronics and experimental soundscapes. Intensely atmospheric as always and based on the sonic possibilities of the synthesizer, 'Praeludium' is abstract and atonal, while also being profoundly personal. This fusion of coalescing and contrasting forces is central to the album's depth of quality and introspective nature.
Like a spider's web, threads of sound run through all three releases. The opening track, 'Juxtapose', feels like a continuation of 'Spring Prayer', which introduced 'Final', while the homage to the 4AD label on 'AD 4' carries into 'Saint Des Leurs'. The beatless aesthetic of See Blue Audio is represented on the churchlike 'Twenty-Four Nods' and futurism of 'Twenty-Seven Radars' and 'Twenty-Eighth'. Beats crash into 'Sunbath', meanwhile, which also references 'Bellcat Melt' from 'Final', and other moments feel on the verge of electronic mayhem. Across the album's 12 tracks, myriad sounds and ideas come into play like shards of glasses falling onto hard ground, then fragmenting into smaller, almost molecular pieces.
'Wonder' closes 'Praeludium' in magnificent style as the forces of nature intrude upon this digital world; the human voice and birdsong as also used on the 'Spring Prayer (Leit Motif 'Dawn Chorus' Remix)' from the recent See Blue Audio compilation, 'Shade Rather Than Light: Anthology | Two'. We are reborn and can return to the source.
As with its companions in this trilogy, the musical lexicon of 'Praeludium' is based on experimentation. Musical composition begins with the spontaneous use of various audio sources, synthesis and quick improvisation. These techniques are more evident than ever on this album and also in the seemingly meaningless track titles that operate almost like secret codes whose starting points could be the time or date, presets on a synth, numbers on a list, photos from a mobile phone, found ephemera, or other randomness experienced in the world. Codes that are obscure but personally significant, representing the continuous flow of material from the artist's daily life documented and recycled. As such, they are open to interpretation by the listener.
In some ways, 'Dash' acted as a prelude to 'Praeludium'; in others, it feels more like a conclusion. Likewise, elements of 'Final' are taken from 'Praeludium'. Time's arrow flying backwards again, and nothing is quite what it seems. See Blue Audio is thrilled to be able to present 'Praeludium' to the world and complete, or perhaps not, a body of work from Bagaski.
Artwork and photography: Bagaski.