steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Bad Faith" CDR

Semper Lofi

Genres: hometaper, lo-fi, pop

Feb 2 - 8 2004

Semper Lofi Recordings, a long-running, prolific micro-label run by hometaper Michael J. Bowman (aka MJB), is, apparently, dead.  Or maybe it isn't.  It's hard to tell.  But either way, Bad Faith, MJB's recent album, is available for purchase ($5 ppd) or trade, and hometaper fans ought to take notice.

Though music is only a hobby for MJB, he does it well.  Better than many who do it for a living, in fact.  His recordings are all of low sonic quality, featuring lots of tape fuzz and background noise, but that's all part of the allure.  His pleasant pop tunes always seem to rise above the recording restraints and offer the listener a great musical experience, packed with lovely melodies and pleasant atmospheres.

Bad Faith starts with the very strong "Letdown," an almost creepy pop tune with whispered vocals, hushed percussion, and strong, acoustic guitar.  It sounds like the Hi-tech songs on the second Swallowed By Machinery compilation, if that means anything to anyone.  "Fake Rock," meanwhile, is a spacey folk-pop tune with a beautifully distant melody.  Neat tape effects are used to give it an experimental texture.  "Hey 40" could be the most accessible track on here; it's a joyously funny song about turning forty.

In addition to its pop tunes, Bad Faith also boasts a few experimental pieces.  "MM Hop," for example, lays a rant over a background guitar/percussion groove.  Meanwhile, the album's finale, "Moon," starts off as a pop tune but quickly becomes a plunderphonics-based sound collage.

Bad Faith is worth the price of admission for those of you with an affinity for bedroom-recorded hometaper material.  How can you not enjoy this?


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]