Bitbird’s latest compilation, ‘Gouldian Finch 2,’ is a tribute to electronic creativity and the label’s “no limits” mentality.
– – – –
The independent record label bitbird has quietly been on the cutting edge of electronic music since its founding in 2014 by Dutch producer San Holo. It’s a label dedicated to supporting and releasing the freshest music in the electronic scene without limiting itself to any particular subgenre or “style” beyond that of being different. With their second compilation, Gouldian Finch 2 (October 5, 2017), that sentiment comes through more than ever.
Packed with 22 tracks from atmospheric instrumentals to some of the dirtiest bass around, it’s a huge release for the label and one that reminds us to favor the innovative. To fully understand the scope of Gouldian Finch 2 it’s best to take the time and sit with it, since each of the tracks included is distinct from the others and more than worthy of it’s place. That being said, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the songs that stood out to Atwood Magazine on first listen:
- “Swift” – Deon Custom
- This track is bright and expansive with layers of piano, alternating synths and snares. Plus, the drop sets itself apart while still fitting into the track beautifully. It feels like a journey, with a short, epic middle section featuring choir and organ samples and the track finishes with some harpsichord. Somehow, it just works.
- “Know Why” – Duskus
- Duskus creates a beautiful, cozy atmosphere on “Know Why.” As soon as the first notes hit, it honestly feels like floating through the clouds. It goes on into a prominent drop but retains its beauty and celestial air with shimmering samples and ambient backing. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your daydreams.
- “Above O” – vinZere
- Synth-heavy to be sure, “Above O” sounds like a voyage through a video game landscape reminiscent of Legend of Zelda. With plenty of 8-bit influence, the bass is well placed, as are the moments of thoughtful respite. It’s a well-constructed digital world that manages to feel incredibly real.
- “Dreaming (ft. Nevve)” – Taska Black
- Taska Black makes your “dreams come alive” on this sleeper track. One of the most vocal-driven tracks on the compilation, attentive production on “Dreaming” is anything but lacking. Synth scales add another layer of luster with just the right amount of complementary bass.
- “Different To You (ft. Ayelle)” – ILIVEHERE.
- Soft on the start, “Different To You” is another vocal-led track that expands into epic synth sounds. ILIVEHERE. is an expert at creating soundscapes that get to the core of our emotions without over-simplifying or complicating. The result is a heartfelt song with strong electronic production for easy listening pretty much anytime.
- “Ayre for Rejection (ft. Slow Shudder)” – Marcioz
- This track comes out of left field in a number of ways. Opening with a sugary sweet vocal, plucky guitar and a whistle sample, we’re suddenly dropped into some of the grimiest bass on the whole compilation. It’s surprising but not exactly deterring. Just as quickly, we’re put back into the acoustics, this time with the addition of some violin. The way “Ayre for Rejection” transitions unexpectedly at first but eventually combines elements of both styles used on the track makes for something that maybe shouldn’t work but is actually quite enjoyable. Marcioz blends the two vastly different genres into a pretty successful single entity that keeps us on our toes and leaves us happily perplexed.
- “NAIKIRA” – Autolaser
- Autolaser beautifully combines contemporary elements of electronic music with 1980’s style, particularly in the bass, deeper synths and drums. It’s a track that might fit into the soundtrack of “Drive,” with its unassuming yet unrelenting atmosphere, angelic vocal sample and on point production. It’s a track that happily sets the scene, but refuses to fade into the background.
- “Underwater” – Ramzoid
- This track hits hard and heavy in the bass, but has tons of other elements to make something of a beautiful frenzy. The chopped vocal sample gives the broken up, trip-hop beat the perfect amount of brightness. With tons of different elements and sounds layered in, Ramzoid creates an ability to create controlled, engaging chaos you’ll want to listen to again and again.
- “If Only (Mega Collab)” – San Holo ft. Eastghost, Analogue Dear, Taska Black, DROELOE, Losi, ILIVEHERE., GOSLO
- The culmination of Gouldian Finch 2 is a mega collab from San Holo and seven other included artists. It’s a sprawling, all-encompassing track that strikingly exhibits the variety of talent and sound throughout the whole compilation. Synths shine, drums kick and vocals guide. “If Only” showcases exactly what bitbird and Gouldian Finch 2 are all about, which is that there are no limits to what can be done when it comes to electronic music.
While this article outlines some of the tracks that stood out to us on Gouldian Finch 2, we encourage readers to take a listen and find their own favorites. Each song included tells a unique story. They’re well thought-out, meaningful tracks that are clear labors of love by each of the artists. That’s what makes these songs so special, and arguably, bitbird so influential in recognizing and cultivating that talent. This wildly diverse compilation celebrates originality and electronic music and the imagination as a whole. And because of that, there’s surely something for everyone to identify with and enjoy.
Listen: Gouldian Finch #02 – bitbird
— — — —