Seven years seems simultaneously too long and too short for Bricolage to be marking an anniversary: the enigmatic Glasgow electronic music label are consistently producing fresh and exciting artists, yet have embedded themselves so firmly in the musical make-up of the city that it seems they’ve always been here. Some of their earliest collaborators appear on this album: Steve Hadfield with the jittery and polyrhythmic ‘Facts, Schmacts’ and the popping, organic ‘Algaerythm’ from Fragile X, who appeared on their first release way back in the distant past of 2015.
This is a wholeheartedly urban album – not in the euphemistic sense beloved of radio programmers. It’s more that it feels like music for cities: for dark walks on rain-slicked streets, motorway underpasses, and night buses. It feels at times like this is music born of the city sprawl, embedded in the Glasgow underground. The bassy drones and snatches of field recordings in ‘Skylab’ echo the early days of dubstep when that meant Benga and Burial in Brixton, not neon-masked Coachella sets.
The clicks and scratches of Doxil’s ‘Disco’ building to a dark and smoky swoop of strings, the squelchy sub-aquatic bass of cCmndhr, or the pounding techno of Boom Merchant’s ‘Back to 44’ all bear the DNA of sets that have echoed around red bricks and tin roofs.
Bricolage have always put music over genre and this compilation is no exception, with straight-up techno and drum & bass tracks rubbing shoulders with more esoteric and less easily categorised musical experiments from artists like Synda Sova and No Arrival, as well as a mysterious ‘secret artist’ closing out the compilation. The title ‘Working Memory’ is a reference to the idea that the brain can only consistently hold seven items at a time: this compilation shows a brimming surplus of ideas that should keep the label producing exciting releases on their own terms for as long as they want to keep it up.
Working Memory is available for pre-order now.