Sad Robot EP by Dr_nothings

Sad Robot EP by Dr_nothings
via bandcamp

via Dr_nothings’ bandcamp

the cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river

A voice slinks in over a creeping 6/4 groove, riddled with a celestial “oooh,” or “(( 。o O o 。o O o h ))” as Dan Rasch ’14 writes on his Bandcamp page.

With the coming of 2014, Dan Rasch, aka Dr_nothings, slipped his five song EP, Sad Robot, onto the web. A year in the making, the EP shows careful dedication not only to crafting each song in a unique fashion, but also engineering a myriad of different sounds that coalesce into blankets of complex music.

The first track, “Colourphotograph,” from which the opening line is taken, is perhaps the most psychedelic track on the EP. With an uncommon time signature and ephemeral shakers and claps that decay into silence, he crafts a scene as blank and quiet as the winter he describes. The real magic of this tune lies in effects Rasch uses on his voice. When he calls out “don’t go away” the final time, you hear a second voice floating above the original before finally evaporating. It’s a song about color, but it paints a solemn image in black and white.

On the other side of the spectrum, Rasch shows his versatility with “September 4,” which features his younger brother Evan Rasch ’17 on guitar. It’s a breakup song with a catchy chorus and infections riffs, but Rasch is able to layer so much more on top of it. He uses sounds in the beat that are difficult to discern (typing? Tennis balls?). By using guitar distortion on his synths, he achieves a thick sound that still brings plenty of bite, which then allows the piano bridge to draw a stark contrast before catapulting the song into its impassioned, final chorus.

With his other three songs, Rasch continues to show his breadth. “To Bits” is delicate and soft as compared to “Satellite” which may be his closest thing to a house song with a chorus that’s as danceable as it is melodic. His final song, “Mantis,” could be a “Her Majesty” of sorts as he ends the EP with this brief and beautiful tune.

Rasch also should be commended for the aesthetic he generates with the concept around the EP. To borrow from his page:

the notion that robots + computers are entirely devoid of feelings can be traced back to biological prejudices well pre-dating the modern era. it is surprising that in this day + age we have not yet left behind these biases, but if we were to pay closer attention to the ever-present play of moods coursing underneath our screens + keyboards, we would see instantly how wrong we were.

in the spirit, then, of empathy between electric and animal souls – an EP for sad robots, melancholic cyborgs, bummer droids, &c. sounds designed to make the air move with dynamic precision, for your loud + quiet moments alike. emotions both human and digital – but nothing virtual, no simulations. all-real feels.

no humans or robots were harmed in the making of this EP, but I did break a guitar string + 2 Microkorg keys.

It’s an EP that’s punctilious, profound, and pretty. Most definitely worth at least two listens.

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