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- Black Mill Tapes Volumes 3+4 by Pye Corner Audio
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Our Head Technician as he’s known completes his ‘Black Mill Tapes’ series with the premiere of Volume 4. Volume 3 has previously been available digitally but never appeared on vinyl until now. Both are collected by Type on double wax and also a 3CD set which also includes the first and second volumes - so the entire series collected in one handy CD package. If you’re reading this then it’s highly likely you know the score full well. Vintage/ retro flavoured electronics are the order of the day once again but like his ‘Sleep Games’ record for Ghost Box this is much more than a BBC Radiophonic homage/ fetish. The quirkier library music influenced sounds of his Ghost Box contemporaries are here replaced by the ghosts of classic house lurking in the shadows. Throughout things have a blackened mood which fits right in with a large portion of Type’s roster.
On some of the housier tracks he really nails that post-rave feeling that reminds me of the vibes of Fallout’s classic ‘The Morning After’ but with a darker slightly more sinister edge. There’s some superb techno here too in the form of the eerie ‘Evil Surrounds’ with it’s haunting lingering strings. Do I need to add there’s also the the soundtracks to the 70’s horror flick that only exists in your mind? I could waffle on about the twenty four tracks here but really you just need to get into the grooves and feel/ hear it for yourself. I’m sure you all know the drill with Martin Jenkins’s productions buy now (sic) and if you don’t I highly recommend snagging the full CD set as an introduction because the first two volumes on wax will cost you and arm and a leg. Bearing that in mind I wouldn’t hang about too long if you wanna score this here vinyl.
Now this series has reached its conclusion, I’m intrigued as to what the Head Technician has up his white coat sleeve.
9/10 Chris Customer review, 18th February 2014
Pye Corner Audio's vintage, slowed-down techno, dusty grooves and experimental, somewhat sinister soundscapes, are a tape-hiss saturated joy to the ears, which embrace the underlying 'noise' and feature it as an intrinsic layer of sound. Rather than trying to remove or mask it, 'Our Head Technician' embraces it, and revels in the retrospective. The Black Mill Tapes are a perfect example of someone doing something they love, in a medium they love; which lends itself to a more human and organic output.
The common problem I find with so much current electronic music is that it's so damn 'clean' sounding! I want to hear a bit of noise, a bit of hiss, it adds a warmth to the sound that is hard to beat. This use of old recording techniques & noise adds real character and continuity to these recordings, which are an immersive listen from start to finish. Whilst I really enjoyed 'Sleep Games' on the always excellent 'Ghost Box' imprint, the darker edge and slightly more experimental grooves of The Black Mill Tapes are more my cup of tea. They seem to perfectly encapsulate what Pye Corner Audio is all about. I highly recommend vol 3&4, and this whole series. A real late-night, headphone listening treat; for those who prefer character-driven electronic music over it's uber-polished mainstream counterpart.
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