It’s a world of overabundant music and disappearing press, lockdowns and empty venues, endless production up against algorithmic listeners. But no mind: free those tracks, anyway.
Overthinker Mob is a project from early September, but maybe it’s worth a revisit now as much as any time. The nights get longer for the northern hemisphere, studio hours return, the world seems to be bracing for more pandemics and uncertainty and – hard disks are filling up with music.
That’s where Overthinker Mob is a stroke of genius, one I’m sure any producer will get. The conceit: find “overthought,” overworked music on hard disks, and liberate it. The collective releases all the tracks anonymously, freeing the producer from the burden of names and focus and “is this my voice?”/”is it on brand?” questions – all the stuff that blocks creativity and keeps productions from being heard.
Maybe these are tracks that are evolving their own kind of organic selfhood. Having been over-edited by their creators, and now entering the world with only their names, they’ve taken on a kind of autonomy. (Okay not entirely anonymous – just you don’t know which track belongs to which musical parent, only that Diessa, Eno Gata, Mordio, Niklas Bühler, Polygonia and Porter Brook were involved.)
It marks the first release of an open-ended series scraping the spectrum for innovative pieces that the artists wouldn’t have made public otherwise. All featured talent is emerging from different backgrounds ranging over Munich’s forefront of hypnotic sound to Sheffield’s queer underground – yet this release offers a coherent experience for home immersion and club ignition alike.
Mobleader Hubert Spangler, aka Bloomfeld, produces an eye-popping, triptacular video montage of the tracks, perfect embodiment of the “biotech” theme. It premiered on FACT as a rich argument for audiovisual releases:
Anyway, I meant to write about this back in September, but in a life-imitates-art failure, I left it overthought in my brain. And now a lot has happened in the intervening weeks. Bandcamp extended its Bandcamp Fridays, meaning you can collect this tomorrow with more of the proceeds going to the artists. Just as notably, Spotify is going the opposite direction – they want you to be a billboard for recommending other tracks, and then take a cut out of your royalty.
Normally, people focus on the economic aspect of this, or scarcity and value. I think there might be emotional damage. It’s not the question of whether the creative thing is scarce or not; anyone who’s ever been around a child is aware that making things is simply not scarce among humans. No, the problem to me is whether people share that expression at all. Maybe it’s just an illusion that we have abundant production; maybe the real reality is a society that artificially constrains channels.
The message now to me of Overthinker Mob is clear, though – freed from this self-image we all have to produce, this creativity has its own life.
There are so many ideas here that I think they almost need more outings to flesh them out. What does it mean that this is a “moodboard” as they claim, rather than an LP/EP/compilation/playlist? I don’t really know. There’s some reference to the biotech theme, and the tracks evoke that, but that makes me hunger for more biotech. That’s no criticism, though; I hope they loop back on their own provocations, or perhaps just leap off to new ones.
I have an ulterior motive; I hope it helps free your music – that it helps free my own – and also that it prods the Overthinker Mob to stop overthinking long enough to do a second issue of this series.
But let’s also explore the diverse imagination of Bloomfeld himself, who came and played a fabulous set for us early in October (hope to share that soon).
Words and things
Overthinker Mob also produced a series of writing entitled Thought Cue – distributed also as a mailing list – with pieces tackling provocations ranging from COVID to racism.
Well worth digging through:
There was also a great conversation about how to build a more inclusive music scene, with Bloomfeld and our friends Sarah Farina and Vio PRG, as well as GSBTB Open Music Lab:
Also worth checking, he did an interview from the “Rave Cave” in a virtual environment over the summer:
Interview: A Virtual-World Chat with Bloomfeld [Soul Feeder]
And sounds too
Bloomfeld’s mixes also often turn to unpublished material, and have the same dynamic, evolving liquid energy. His DJ sets are great, but I love this all-unreleased “100% Bloomfeld” production mix best. Even without his animations, your brain can almost dance through plastic organic 3D textures:
Really digging this track – that’s my thought of soulful asymmetries, crispy irregular proportions that somehow never lose forward motion or slip into overly mechanical IDM triteness. Then again, I’m afraid to attempt to write about music in this election week – I think it fried my brain. So let’s listen and … well I feel better after dancing to this, so it has my “very danceable” stamp on it:
And actually more excellent mixes:
Happy Bandcamp Day Eve again, I guess? Not a creature was stirring, not even a mastering engineer…
And meanwhile, looking forward to whatever Bloomfeld and these cats are cooking up next.