Prequel Tapes is a work of deep synthesis. Teenage recordings orchestrated into densely layered tapestries; a deeply emotional study on a life characterised by a shifting relationship to electronics.
I would often wander into the forest after school. This wasn’t Sheffield, or Manchester, as much as I thought I wanted it to be. Sometimes the mushrooms we picked would make me sick, which added a vital sense of adventure to the days and weeks that could pass without much happening at all. Something to talk about, a story we made together. It was a dead city. Not great, not terrible. Nothing to break an illusion. We had no idea what we were doing, but a reality check was the last thing we were looking for.
Wasted from the youth centre, we would go and listen to people spin records at Skandal. The melodies in The Cure songs lingered with me for days. I wanted to make my own music. I started to leave early and bang on metal into a microphone. I saved up and bought a Casio FZ-1 sampler and drum machine. We poured ourselves into bands. We would stay in and practice, programming MIDI on an Atari ST-1024. Nobody would hear this music. My Korg MS-10 was stolen by an ex-band mate from our rehearsal basement. I would dive inside myself, burrowing a tunnel to a new world. Configuring an inner system.
A fascination with Clock DVA became an obsession with techno. KLF. Future Sound of London. The melancholy was still there, in traces, but it was moving somewhere, looking for company. Growing. Ecstatic. Ecstasy! I left the basement to share this with others. I moved to the big city and the music got faster. My process got faster. Collaborations. Plug-ins. That’ll do. Take it to the people! What used to be a personal practice became a public practice. A call and response. A communal effort. Abstract numbers heard this music. My technique sharpened. My studio served a function greater than my own; a system outside myself.
Then I found the DAT tapes, and the VHS footage. They had traveled with me. Far from a nostalgic exercise, this was a reclamation of the original impulse. A reminder of the music I always wanted to make. Reorienting myself with analog machines and obsolete formats, I stole hours to bring this work into the world. I hope that it speaks to you.