Betama is a collaboration between Arkia Jahani and Alex Zhuralov, who also record as Make-Up and who apparently run a studio they call Temple of Holy. The whole thing is rather mysterious, but it appears that there a lot of free music from these people on BandCamp.
And after digging around i think that they are actually local to EvilSponge. Mr. Jahani's FaceBook page says that he studied at Georgia State, and i have seen several videos of local bands that credit Mr. Zhuralov as the cinematographer.
With Betama, they are creating minimal techno. I associate this stuff with Germany. It seems to me to be a logical descendent of Kraftwerk - music that propels itself along slowly, with head bopping beats and tinkling synth sounds that are in no hurry to get anywhere. This is ultra-cool in a "driving down the autobahn in a Ferrari" kind of way.
This free EP is part of the Everything is Chemical Virtual 7" series, and to be honest the sheer amount of music here on the Designers kind of pushes the limit of the term 7". There is about a half an hour of music here.
Betama kick thing off with MMM six minutes in which a bass warbles and synth drums tap. It feels cold and calm, just sound of bouncing along.
Yamamoto is almost nine minutes long, and it just cruises along for minutes and then there is some kind of vocal sample half-heard and distorted in the mix. The beat changes, subtly, getting a little funky in the middle. And i mean "funky for minimal techno" and not a Bootsy Collins level of funk. The beat kind of sways a little bit, making the head nodding just a tad different.
There is a brief interlude next, the minute and a half Digital Crucifix. This has a keyboard bit that warbles like White Trash Heroes, although instead of Big E waxing philosophic, the warble is covered in a few extra layers of drone.
The EP ends with two remixes that sonically are in the general spirit of the rest of the tunes. However, i do not know if they are Betama remixing other people's music, or someone else remixing Betama, or even them remixing their own music. It's part of the whole "poorly documented mystery" of the whole thing. So be it.
The first remix is Lifeforms [Saint Laurent Mix]. It is driven by a clicking hi-hat beat that reminds me of Soft Cell, accompanied by some faint drones and tinkling keyboard trills. Nice enough.
The second remix is a whopper at just over 11 minutes. It's called Saint Victorian [McQueen Mix] and is a skeletal song built out of a warbling tone and a faint thunking with spacy sounds over top. Several minutes in, a faint vocal sample wanders by the spacy sounds get a little more intense. Mostly this is beat-driven ambient music, a la what Kompakt records do.
Overall, this is another fine download from the Everything is Chemical Virtual 7" series.