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2012/02/01 / monteurhulot

ALBUM // Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services – Black Mill Tapes Vol.3

Can this please be the breakthrough moment for Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services?

Conditions at the moment seem propitious: With the third volume of the Black Mill Tapes reaching an LP length, and coming soon after an excellent collaboration with The Advisory Circle (also offering a track here) on the more established Ghost Box label, The Head Technician is perfecting the ability to apply his BBC Radiophonic Workshop-inspired aesthetic to rhythmic forms currently in vogue. His take on Space Disco (“Electronic Rhythm Number Five” and “Electronic Rhythm Number One”) differentiates it texturally from the predominant school settled across the North Sea while equaling its cheerful trance. More gripping is the transformation of a Coldwave-invoking sort of Italo-Disco, heard in the middle section of “Hexden Channel” and epitomized by “Inside the Wave,” which finds the point between menace, sensuality and machine artifact that seems to be the exact point at which producers of Witch House so dearly wish to arrive and so rarely do. Pye Corner Audio may then be well placed on the Grand Array of Trends for the well-deserved accolades to begin pouring in (Warren Ellis is a good start.)

The most impressive accomplishments on Vol. 3 may however be in those moments when no drums are heard. Snippets like “Memory Wiped,” “Transmission Two:Pathways Closed,” “Theme Number Eight” and come very close indeed to matching the distant-but-enveloping, desolate-but-warm, soul-bendingly paradoxical beauty of unforgettable Boards of Canada interludes like “Bocuma”, “Olsen” and “I Saw Drones.” No small feat to enter such an orbit; in their fleeting poignancy, those short tracks stand as some of the most affecting in the history of electronic music (enough so that I will evoke Boards of Canada in every fourth review here at O(h)rtlos.)

The Head Technician ascends toward rarefied air. O Pitchfork Media, unleash your pliant hoards!

Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3 is unquestionably worth your time to listen to, and you may well agree it to be worth an exchange value of 5.99 of your Earth British Pounds.

t.

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