Pleasant isn’t a word I’d expect to use to describe an album put out by Bedouin Records (or in this case, their cassette-only sister label, Bastakiya Tapes). However, the label is notoriously hard to define, so maybe it’s not so surprising that this latest output, from Martijn Comes, is such a pleasure to listen to. In fact, judging by their first four releases, the young sub-label is focused less on techno and more concerned with releasing atmospheric, beatless drones, experiments and acoustic arrangements. That isn’t to say this offering is lacking the abrasion that generally characterises Bedouin releases, but it is an altogether more subtle release. Abrasion is certainly still present at times, but appears fleetingly, between crackling atmospheres and orchestral timbres.
Radio Oblivion is an album that feels embedded in the cassette format (which makes it a shame that at the moment at least, I’m listening to it digitally). It is nonetheless an atmospheric, winding listen. Opening with dense, chaotic tones, the album quickly settles into its second track, ‘Song Of The Rock To Rise’. This is a warm, slow and considered piece, orchestral strings slowly brought into the mix among glowing pads. The album proceeds to wind through a range of textures, at times shimmering and intense, at others understated, at one point even descending into silence mid-track.
For me, the highlight is in the albums last track, ‘Keep On Rowing’, a collaboration with Yiannis Kotsonis. There is a slowly shifting melody before it unexpectedly rings into silence, ending the album. On each of my listens this abrupt ending has unexpectedly returned me to reality, and each time has put into perspective the warm atmosphere I’ve been pleasantly soaked in for the last 38 minutes.