Nick Campbell Destroys Takes Off on New EP lo-fi bass music for quarantine

By Deuce

The crown piece of lo-fi bass music for quarantine, the most recent offering from Nick Campbell Destroys, is “Goodbye Moonmen”. It’s the final track on the three-song Extended Player, the one for which vocalist Michael Mayo was recruited, and the one for which Campbell produced a music video.

But it just as easily could’ve (or is that should’ve?) been “Central Park West” deserving those honors. Despite the dearth of features and music video, it’s featured first on the collection and with good reason: it gets you there, one way or another.

For all practical purposes, “Moonmen” is a ballad—albeit one that tests the upper limits of the term “staid” for which most ballads are known. “West”, however, is a revamped, free form, sprawling rendition of jazz. It’s a bottle and sunset music, gazing off rooftops on long, cloud filled afternoons, and a piece with charming idiosyncrasies.

There’s the ethnic percussion (congas, perhaps), that define the pace of the number. The foundation, however, is laid by the guitar riff—although it might even be a bass—that’s both catchy and incessant, a sonic leader if ever there was one. The music pours, no, streams, from the keyboards, which definitely evoke imagery of solar effects on earth.

And somewhere in there, notwithstanding all these elements, a groove emerges, something you can feel despite the surfeit of steady drums. Perhaps it’s the horn, which almost certainly has to be a trumpet, meandering through the work at its leisure.

None of this, of course, subtracts anything from “Moonmen”, which makes the most of Mayo’s plaintive vocals, interstellar lyrics, and reckless abandonment of all of the above for spontaneous outbursts of scatting. The cut begins with Campbell strumming on a guitar tubed with one of those effects heard in the scary scenes of westerns. The track is infused with a melancholy air, fortified by a four on the floor drum pattern with a diminished snare every eight counts.

“Along Came Betty” also illustrates Campbell’s penchant for eschewing convention. There’s no denying its electronic roots, which swiftly take on overt overtones with the frenzied drumming of Chaun Horton. The horn gets to blaring, Campbell unveils the weird synths, and things are moving every which a way—as cacophonic as a cacophony gets—until about, say, two and a half minutes in. That’s when things drop, the tempo gets way slower, the bass becomes much more pronounced, and the whole tune takes on a largeness directly descended, or so it seems, from Roy Ayers “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”.

Another classy piece, this ‘tis, from a classy artist.

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