The City of Nottingham, located roughly in the center of England, enjoys fame for its connection to the mythical Robin Hood. And, like Robin Hood who was ultimately no longer able to elude detection or fame; Nottingham electronica artist Chris Bicknell, aka ‘BIK,’ may no longer be able to hide within his musical Nottingham forest.
A true student of the electronic music genre, BIK could be described many ways, though a common thread to his music is a detailed focus on composition. Each track appears to have been constructed patiently and intelligently. Moreover, while many contemporary electronica artists focus exclusively on percussion, BIK focuses on filtering synthesized sounds and building impressive soundscapes. The man knows how to construct a track. More importantly, those constructed tracks make you dance!
BIK’s influences are unclear to this writer; perhaps those European electronic music pioneers from the ‘80s and ‘90s who carried the torch of electronica when so much bad music was being produced as the genre spread rapidly. Whatever the source, BIK’s music reflects several interesting styles. The pure danceability evident in many of his tracks is, at times, reminiscent of early Front242 (e.g., ‘White Dwarf’). ‘Funk N Jive’ recalls early European techno classics, such as the 1990 mind-blower “Evolution” by Nostromo Department which appeared on the cutting-edge and influential compilation “Technopolis.” Other tracks suggest a more mature Oliver Lieb, aka LSG (e.g., ‘Rachael’s Song’). Several feature a mysterious, almost gothic, old-school electronic trance vibe (e.g., ‘Drance’) and an aggressive, psychedelic aspect is evident at times (e.g., ‘LTM vs. BLK’). Some tracks are relatively mellow and recall Vangelis (e.g., ‘Creed,’ ‘LollyB,’ ‘Automata,’ ‘Gabriel Kron,’ and ‘Roykion’). One could almost envision these appearing in a modern day version of Blade Runner. Turn up the danceability knob a notch or two on certain of these (e.g., ‘Roykon’) and you have his track ‘Eva3.’ But to this writer, BIK’s masterpiece is without question ‘Binary,’ which brings it all together.
Chris indicates on Reverbnation that “[m]y first experience of electronic music was spinning around to Popcorn by Hot Butter as an infant. It wasn’t until I heard Kraftwerk’s ‘Man Machine’ on my mum’s old gramophone that I realized that there was so much more out there. Listening wasn’t enough though; I needed to make it. There has followed years of buying and selling of different pieces of electronic music equipment making of songs: some good, some bad. The urge to make music still continues today.” That is evident in his body of work, which is artful, upbeat, hopeful, and intelligent music for the mind, body, and soul. Monster Loop recommends BIK!