Boomkat Product Review:
Bowery Electric's classic 1996 sophomore album "Beat" finally reissued; a hypnotic set of sampled breaks and shimmered guitar and vocal textures that split the difference between DJ Shadow and MBV.
After releasing their acclaimed self-titled debut in 1995, Bowery Electric's Lawrence Chandler and Martha Schwendener were left without a drummer after Michael Johngren's departure, and a callout for a replacement just didnt work out. In came samplers and drum machines to fill the void, as the band stumbled on a new signature sound in the process. The title "Beat" is an inside joke, but focuses on the element that gives the record its lasting appeal, pre-empting the wave of electronic shoegaze revivalists in the mid-00s like Ulrich Schnauss, Casino Versus Japan and M83, harmonizing with peers like Seefeel, Loop or Windy and Carl.
The heavy-knit shoegaze that guided Bowery Electric's debut is broken down into its component parts here; there's looping dub bass and downsampled breaks - basically the kind of thing you would have heard on Mo' Wax's "Headz" comps, evoking minimal trances that sound like shoegaze, trip hop and backroom ambient all at once.
If you're into that messy zone where shoegaze and trip-hop intersected - think Third Eye Foundation, Flying Saucer Attack, Bark Psychosis or Seefeel - Bowery Electric are an essential piece of that puzzle, and "Beat" is their finest moment.