Two drum and bass tracks from Barcode Recordings (that need improving)

A person is either passionate about the music they love or somewhat eccentric (or preferably both) if they argue that dark, heavy, underground and experimental music should be played at whatever speed the listener enjoys hearing it at the most. That is, assuming the listener has the technical capability to do this.For example, my 33rpm vinyl copy of the Stratosfear album by krautrock and electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream always gets played at 45rpm. At the extreme end of the extreme scale, the Slayer track Angelof Death slowed down by 800 per cent transforms this speed / thrash / death metal classic into a terrifyingly slow descent into the bowels of the abyss.One could argue that an awesome song remains awesome no matter what speed it gets played at. Or, you could think of it as an early warning sign that the release being played is rather ordinary. Such was the case, I found, with this mystery dark drum n bass record that I acquired some years ago at a fair.

My copy of Stitches / Last Walk (bar05) by Psidream and MechwarriorYou mean you couldn't tell from the Barcode Recordings cover art?   

This 12-inch vinyl record is 2004 release on the hard and dark drum and bass Barcode Recordings record label. A promotional copy in a plain sleeve with no other artwork other than “Bar Code promo” printed on one side, I established its identity on its catalogue number: bar05.Now I don’t claim to know the dark drum n bass scene inside out. However, I know what I like when it comes to this music — and this just ain’t it.bar05 features two collaborative drum and bass tracks by two drum and bass artists. The tracks are Stitches (side A) and Last Walk (side B) by two producers calling themselves Psidream and Mechwarrior. Stitches is a chilled out sort of track — there’s no other way to describe it — with a vaguely dubbed and ’70s chillaxed kind of vibe to it. If you’re into that laid back sound then this may be your cup of tea, but it’s not for me.Last Walk has more depth and is somewhat greyer (I wouldn’t go so far as to say darker) distorted bass lines to it. The broken beats are heavier and I will buy you a cookie if you can trainspot the sampled dialogue that goes “And what is the truth” or “And what is it”.Yet both in cases these tracks seem go on for too long. They are 7:10 and 6:28 minutes long respectively, and they seem to pretty much repeat the same damn thing again and again. I found it lacking in imagination and much too repetitive, even by the admittedly repetitive standards of this sort of electronic music.

Barcode Recordings

Barcode Recordings is a heavy drum n bass record label that clearly enjoys enough respect and admiration to be able remain in business. A quick glance at the names on the Barcode Recordings roster goes a long way to explaining why. Evol Intent, Current Value, Counterstrike and Raiden are just a few among many more.However, this release just doesn’t seem to have much imagination or capture any magic.Call me harsh. Call me ignorant. Call me whatever you like. Given how much it costs to press a vinyl record I am constantly amazed at how generic the tracks like the ones on bar05 end up on expensive physical media. I can fully see these tracks on a compilation, but the fact that they’re on a vinyl record has me shaking my head.Having said that, I strongly suspect that the rest of the Barcode Recordings catalogue is much stronger when you consider the previously mentioned artists.

Who buys vinyl records these days anyway? Not the people who bought this record I suspect.

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