I’m worried about James Beardmore’s teeth. I cannot be certain that there is a problem. His dentist may well read this and lodge a complaint with the BADD PRESS client experience department. I’m betting that won’t happen though, after hearing Beardmore’s new single under the name CARES. If ever there was a track that captured the intensity of grinding pearly whites, it is “Vendor Day,” track one on his excellent new EP Coping Strategies.
Beardmore says this material is an extension of his November 2016 cassette Who Else Are You.
“There is a more specific theme on this EP, which is collective anxiety and exhaustion surrounding even understanding the horrific and absurd,” he says. “Coping Strategies builds on and continues to focus the aesthetics and ideas of the last record. Certain elements like the abstracted vocals are taken further and are more prominent. It also expands the sound palette, adding more digital sounding aspects or samples of classical music like on Chair Throwing Meditation 3.”
Plus you can dance to it. “Vendor Day” is uniquely groovy. It belongs in a nightclub, where its thick distortion and big beats can have maximum effect.
Beardmore says the track is based in part on webcam feeds in five deserted hospitals.
“Obscure corners of the internet are always fascinating, especially things that have just been sitting there for a long time,” he says. “That webcam site is creepy and unnerving. But in a kind of banal way, it’s also sort of funny. A dated looking webpage from decades ago where you can see live images of these dark abandoned rooms … This EP ended up dealing with the increasingly visible sense of collective anxiety right now. That and how it seems like everything going on is so absurd, it’s exhausting to even acknowledge it. So, ideas or images that represent those feelings and even combines them stick with me. Places that should be safe but make you nervous, absurd uses of technology, decay, grief.”
Beardmore uses a variety of synthesizers, drum machine, theremin and samples in his work. He processes a lot of those sounds to achieve distortion and reverb. “I like to take things up to the point of unintelligible, or give things a feeling of collapsing on themselves,” he says.
The approach is not entirely unique. What sets CARES apart is his uncommonly mature approach to composition. These four tracks are all six minutes or less, which adds to their intensity.
“I try and keep a lot of chance in the way I work, both in terms of process and concept,” he says. “I give myself a pretty strict set of aesthetic constraints but then try not to impose a subject matter or too much formality. I’m trying to make music that feels subjective and personal, without being overly definitive.”
Check out “Vendor Day” on SoundCloud.