Featured Music: Waskerley Way

Could it be that there is something genuinely interesting and new-sounding seeding itself across the music scene recently? Perhaps. Offering up a sizeable chunk of evidence on the affirmative side is Waskerley Way, the tricky-to-classify project of Newcastle's Michael Bridgewater.

OK, true point - the likelihood of some utterly unique new genre of music being pulled out the ether by angels seems low nowadays, simply as there is just so damn much freely available music out there to be influenced by, and to some extent - It's all been done before (a highly debatable comment - is it possible to imagine the as yet unimagined?).

There could however be hints of something convincingly 'fresh' in the kind of bands (very) loosely filed under the banners of post-rock, ambient/electronica, plus the various xxx-wave and xxx-gaze banners. There's perhaps a common thread evident in not only the specific sounds of the associated bands, but also more in terms of style and attitude (weird, enigmatic, frequently self-produced and recorded, somewhat anti-commercial and happy to take 'risks').

With that tangential preamble in mind, give this a listen:

Bridgewater has been putting out EPs/LPs on Bandcamp as Waskerley Way now since 2010 and this latest, Haunted Tors, appeared in April, adding to the roster of distinctively singular releases which reveal a highly personalised sound. Self-categorised under the inspired headings of 'cat wave', 'sandalgaze' and 'nature step', Waskerley Way's music is often almost analogue in flavour - despite being fairly electronic based, with open swathes of moody noise and lo-fi melodies playing off each other to produce some truly resonant atmospheres and effects.

Think of the kind of music that produces landscapes, that's where these sounds come into their own. The depth of production may not be fully all-absorbing, which in some instances could be felt as a factor lacking in the creation of such, but the common air of 'lo-fi + reverb' seems instead to add a much more personal sense of closeness along the lines of say the darker side of eighties electronica (eg. early, but not earliest, Depeche Mode) or Isn't Anything-era MBV.

All this then gets pulled together in such a way with a more modern, but understated 'bottom-end' to somehow sound both loud/huge and quiet/intimate at the same time. Quite an accomplishment and the paradox is really attractive. To use a slightly surreal metaphor it's something like hearing a performance in a huge echoey arena, from the back, when the only audience is you... A bit eerie, but captivating all the same.

Despite being able to hear influences bleeding into the music, Haunted Tors has originality and individuality (especially that) in large doses - And we need more music like this to be honest, where the pressure to be 'easily accessible' is off and the space is there to enable being truly creative and screw whether anyone else gives a monkeys or otherwise. In the age of interwebbery there'll always be a host of people discovering eclectic or unusual new sounds and willing to 'fan-up' and declaim 'The Next Big Thing' - and that's a wonderful thing to happen. The time for another great Punk-style revolution has probably passed, but don't let that stop you finding what's becoming more and more easy to find - People (like Waskerley Way) making some bloody brilliantly exciting music.