Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Endlessly Misplaced Optimism is the latest release from Minnesota-based experimental artist Bargain Noise. It’s an odd assortment of tracks that can be defined by one unifying similarity: distortion, lots of well-placed distortion. Stylistically, the album varies widely with some tracks sounding like a slow grind and others being a rapid-fire acid and breakbeat-inspired schizophrenic orgy of sound. These various tracks come together into an album that has an air of tongue in cheek humor punctuated by some cleverly named tracks.
If you were wondering what to expect before you started listening, you should be tipped off by the first track which is suspiciously named “Outro.” This track is a dark and slow grinding piece with deep and crunchy kicks plus a ping-ponging noise that sounds like a malfunctioning computer. Juxtaposed against this are tracks like “Forever Challenging the Status Quo” and “Nostalgia is Not What It Used to Be,” the first of which gives us a blisteringly fast breakcore beat with garbled electronic screams and the second slows it down only slightly to give us an early Squarepusher influenced breakbeat with a similarly inspired driving bassline that morphs and shifts as the track progresses.
The strange sense of humor and dirty aesthetic continues with tracks such as “I’m Getting Sick of Drawing Dead Bodies,” a considerably slower track with jumpy hi-hats and a bleeping percussive sound reminiscent of the cowbell from a barely functioning 808 that manages to keep a breakbeat feel. Then there is the bizarrely named “No Gods No Masters No COD” which sounds almost like an industrial track that had a bastard love child with a breakbeat that survived an attack from a food processor. And if that last sentence made little sense, then listen to the album and see how you would describe it.
On this album, it sounds as though Bargain Noise is trying out some new techniques that call back to the days of previous extreme electronic music. Combining breakbeat, acid, breakcore, and straight noise into a concoction that may not sound optimistic, but definitely worth a listen.