Saturday 13 January 2024


It's time for some new music from Lindsay Lowend, the human Detroit-dweller, educator and game composer, Tony Mendez. Differently from his recent releases, the chiptune-heavy Chiptunes 2022 (clue's in the name) and the demoscene-dedicated Nectarine (also released in 2022), the focus on this EP is a real instrument: the guitar. It's appeared in his high-energy frenetic VGM-flavoured compositions before — LL 2020 - Volume 3, for example — but never with such prominence as to be the crux of the release itself.

That's where Braddock Run is different. Named possibly after a tiny little river in Pennsylvania, or maybe not, the five-track EP is characterised by the same Lindsay Lowend lyricism, all those refraining melodies and addictive, looping progressions — take the splashy chords in the calypso-inflected 'Smokestacks', a sunny number that also retains the emotive soft synth goodness that Mendez is known for. Little avenues of guitar work with the synth, different melodies folded into each other, perhaps most noticeable on the virtuoso, math-leaning melodies that skip and skitter in 'Blue Nun'.

High reverb on the synths give a gossamer backdrop to tracks on Braddock Run, providing a suitably seasonal scattering of frost and fog to the atmosphere. 'Hรถfner' displays this nicely, with a stutter of sharp synths and a repeating tract of delayed guitar disappearing as if down a sparkling wintry lane into the low, sheltered hills beyond. We even get a taste of outdoors on opener 'Horseshoe Crab' with its crispy field recordings. Mendez is no stranger to field recordings; his redubs can be found on Vimeo, where he once uploaded an exercise in foley in the form of redubbing environmental noises in Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Contrasting with the cool temperatures, but wholly coexisting with them if not codependent on them entirely, is the warmth of indoors. You can't be cosy without the cold. It evokes a table set with breakfast items, a pluming mug of coffee, a steamed-up window with a vista of some hivernal scene.

The thudding rounded tones of the beat throughout provides this — especially the slightly distorted drums in title track (and final song) 'Braddock Run', crackling like glowing hearth-bound firewood — as does the bass, creating unobtrustive grooves like a quilted coat. Simplicity rather than elaboration in the beat-and-bass foundations provides the stable conditions to press pause on your day and be caught in the music.

There's a sense of end-of-the-day resolution, a kind of sunset finality, on the EP's closer, the meldoy skipping upwards but falling back with melancholy-tinged contentment. The guitar on this track exemplifies the guitar on the entire EP, the melodies affectionately layered over each other, each a copy but differing just so. Compare it with 'Horseshoe Crab', with its introductory feel, its Animal Crossing gentleness.

While the feel of Braddock Run may be more "real" than Mendez's previous endeavours, the sense of everyday escapism, of familiar fantasies, is heightened with his command of the fretboard, working with synthetic elements to create a composite daydream of chilled — and chilly — proportions.

  • ๐Ÿ”” Listen to Lindsay Lowend's Braddock Run EP all you like over on Bandcamp. You can even buy it on a name-your-price basis.
  • ๐Ÿ”” The cover photo for the EP is by Detroit-based artist and designer Nick Tilma, who also designs some wonderful furniture.

Lindsay Lowend Internet Presence ☟
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