Setec – Water or Concrete

Attention: If you need a good source of winter mood music, please listen to Setec.

Setec is a pseudonym for solo bedroom-artist, Joshua Gibbs – captivating and almost so good that it can warm your heart on a winter’s day. There are a lot of sad songs in the world, but Gibbs crafts songs that were made for listening to on a gloomy night when you’re stuck on public transport and you keep falling over your own feet.


Music for feels. Music for winters. Music for Airports. Listen to Setec.

The multi-instrumentalist first released an EP in 2012 titled Longer Letters – seriously, what a poetic guy. Longer Letters was made up of three improvised songs: Plane, Twin Seas, and Bicycle that were recorded in the heart of the city in his studio. This EP is ambient, chilled out, whimsical and to my ear, sounds like it would play late at night at an empty carnival.

Setec combines field recordings with dreamy vocals and describes his project as ‘forging its way into the dusty and nostalgic corners of your brain and attempting to stay there’. Setec uses long and forgotten samples, pairing them with honest vocals, making it no mystery that Setec is very sure about what his music means. Like many of these chillwave types, he has tagged his own project as dreampop/shoegaze and draws influence from dudes like The Avalanches and Bjork. On his own Facebook page he invites his fans to come and watch him nervously perform ‘ambient vocal loops’ and sing his heart out.

Six months after the release of Longer Letters, Setec came up with a second EP, I’ll Be Good. This EP has more beats to fully concentrate on, there’s even something like a xylophone somewhere in the mix. Vowel of Owl is layered so well that at first I thought I had stepped into an elevator and then felt as though I was listening to a speech. There’s something coherent about the way Sydney’s Gibbs plays the guitar, sings, complies music samples and organises his sound, and it makes me jittery at the thought of him performing all this live.

The first song from his upcoming LP Brittle as Bones, Water Or Concrete is chilled right down and an even more enchanting as his previous efforts. This song highlights his delicate falsetto coupled with a dreamy mandolin. This one is full of paradoxes – cool yet warm and with lot of soul, it’s a combination of light-hearted and deep that ends up simply sounding mellow. Setec’s previous EP’s are available for download via his bandcamp and Brittle as Bones doesn’t yet have a release date. Setec also sells $5 tee-shirts* – how cool is that!



*Thanks to inflation between the time of writing and publishing, Setec has been forced to increase his (still quite reasonable) pricing.