Estonia cult indie label releases posthumous third album from flagship shoegaze/dream pop band Bizarre
Bizarre was amongst the first music acts in the newly created Estonian shoegaze and dreampop scene (which included Pia Fraus, She Bit Her Lip and Picnic) born out of the transition from Soviet occupation to independence. Consisting of Inga Jagomäe (vocals), Mart Eller (vocals), Anti Aaver (guitar), Tristan Priimägi (guitar) and Lauri Liivak (electronica), the band was originated in 1992 out of Tartu.
With clear inspiration from bands such as Slowdive and post MBV dream pop, Bizarre released their debut album ‘Beautica’ in 1994. Their first full release brought them significant attention in the shoegaze scene. Never wanting to be labeled, much less be exclusively known as a shoegaze or dream pop band, they developed a fondness for electronics and various writing structures. The result was their followup, Café de Flor (1996), which retained much of it’s shoegaze and dream pop roots, while adding in more 60s influenced poppy sounds and sample based rhythms. This was also released not long after Brian Eno produced and remixed some of Slowvide’s “Souvlaki” recordings and arguably created a split in the genre — invoked by the subtleties of ambient electronics. All in all, these event set the stage and it was a nice foundation going forward.
A year or two later would’ve been appropriate for the third Bizarre release. And yet recorded in 1997 and 1998, what is now named “Necro” became a collection of ten songs — some appeared on compilations, while others have remained unreleased until now — courtesy of the Estonian cult indie label Seksound. Culling from their mid 90s influences like the emerging sub genres of trip hop, ambient pop and drum n’bass, plus successful gigs with British electronic band Spring Heel Jack in 1997, they seemed to mark both a natural evolution, and a new avenue of music to be explored by a band that refuses to conform to a genre. At its very core, it continues the path of soft atmospheric spacey lullabies, with found sounds sampled and re-processed before arpeggiated towards the air castles, snappy and trippy like rhythms hushed under its own whim and dissonant soundscapes conveying a peaceful vibe. Listening to “Waters” is like a vignette of an illuminated pool surrounded by a hazy night light. You discover yourself swimming in its fantasy, oblivious to reality or any darkness that may come. The male/female chorus duet is every bit like unity highlighted by “Any Day” a song that could easily be mistaken for the Beloved if they decided to venture more into “Sweet Harmony”. Sure at times tracks like “Never Ever” would return to its ‘Beautica’ debut roots, “Summer Rain” would flash a little glam, while “International Love Affair” experimented with an infusion of funk never thought of for a Bizarre release, but hence the name Bizarre right? The next step of an otherworldly inspired yet versatile group awaits. They already fit neatly into an existing niche of electronic music acts inspired by a combination of ambient, dream pop, trip hop, industrial, post rock , house and shoegaze. From the more popular acts like Opus 3 and Dubstar to late comers like early Halou, from Australia’s Single Gun Theory to “Karma” by Delirium, and from NYC’s Bowery Electric to Love Spirals Downwards whose path in some ways resembled Bizarre’s— from an early 90s shoegaze/dream pop band with mid tempo sensibilities to 1998s Flux — an album brimming with elements of atmospheric drum n bass. Unfortunately, Bizarre broke up soon afterwards. Regardless the collection of songs that makes Necro is a fascinating retrospective into a transition that never came to be.
Like their previous albums Beautica (1994) and Café de Flor (1996), the third album Necro was scheduled for release on June 4th from Seksound in Europe and Darla for the US and the rest of the world…but is now available as of May 28th. New update it looks like the entire release has been moved back to June 4th. For Spotify subscribers, the first two Bizarre releases are available on US versions.
Here’s a link of “Any Day” uploaded on youtube.
Originally published at thisischill.blog on May 29, 2018.