There is more to Replaced, the new EP from New Jersey producer Birocratic—aka Brandon Rowan—than meets the eye (and ear). Created during a period of transition for Rowan, as he divided his time between college in New York City and his family’s new home in the tiny vacation town of Cape May in South Jersey, the songs on Replaced mark a dynamic evolution in his approach to production and form a body of work that unfolds like a flower in time-lapse.
Rowan had a lucky break back in 2013, when his atmospheric Creative Commons-licensed tracks caught the attention of BuzzFeed’s video producers, who used them in clips like “Life Hacks Your Mom Wants You To Know” and “6 Foods You’re Eating Wrong” that racked up views in the millions. It’s easy to see why BuzzFeed chose Rowan’s songs—their insistent, tape-fuzz drums and jazzy chords made for the perfectly simplistic, yet unobtrusive underscoring for segments of banana-peeling shot against clinical white backgrounds.
But Replaced shows, undoubtedly, that Birocratic has moved far beyond mere viral-video accompaniment. Complex and evocative, Replaced tracks like “Slipout” freely intrude on listeners’ stable worlds, with fractal-like synths swirling around beats that demand attention. The tracks still center on Rowan’s signature jazz-inflected changes and enticing drum samples, but the microcosms of sound that percolate up from between and among them are daring, dreamlike and altogether a product of the journey Rowan took to create them.
We spoke to Birocratic about the history behind Replaced and the process, influences, and collaborators that brought these unique songs into the world.