[Song] Onlooker – When I Was Away


Bandcamp is one of the greatest music services the internet has ever wrought. Other than an easy and beneficial way for small bands to open up a storefront, it’s also a handy resource for discovering new music. In Bandcamp Notables, we engage in the time-honored blogging practice of spotlighting songs we found while exploring the site.

Onlooker! Onlooker is a band I got into in 2007 with Today I’m A Gunmaker. Warren Ellis, a writer I follow with a near-religious fervor, had started uploading these mixes of cool spacey, ambient music. Dark of the night type stuff. Onlooker had the first song on the first mix. I bought the album soon after. It got me into some cool headspaces.

I’m delighted that they’re still around 7 years later. Their 2014 album, Still Life isn’t the roaming, meditative, wasteland base camp that Gunmaker was, but it probably shouldn’t be anyway. Today’s Onlooker has the squishy synths and morose crooning of 80s post-punk. I hear more Joy Division on a song like “You You You” or “Run Like Animals,” but they can still set a helluva scene on tracks like the lengthy “When I Was Away” above.

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