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  • One winter night in London in 1991, Gwen Jamois went into a cold reggae studio and had himself a straight-to-tape recording session with some analog gear. It's a romantic scene right out of Thomas de Quincey, who once wrote that happiness is being alone in a mountain cabin, surrounded by snow, with only a tincture of opium and some Hegel. Years passed. The rave era ended. Now two decades later, when the heady experimentalism of acid house and early Warp records once more strikes the ear in exciting ways, Jamois' jams are finally seeing the light of day. It should be said that it's somehow fitting that a man who today runs a rare records website would have once recorded some solo techno freak-outs to cassette tape and let them collect dust for a small eternity: by waiting so long, Jamois has effectively turned his own material into a rare, esoteric gem. But Tapes is not a mere archaeological curiosity. It's a genuinely weird, compelling trifecta of blistering analog techno, the kind of avant-garde artifact that sometimes causes journos to write "it could have been recorded today!" I'd have to say in this case that Tapes probably could not have been recorded today, if only because of the absent influence of the last twenty years of music. Tapes genuinely sounds like electronic composition is a relatively new thing, and certain aesthetic rules haven't been codified yet. Synth pulses and squeaks flutter like angry birds. Crunchy, overdriven drums march around untethered, their militaristic stomp punctuated by acidic laser fire. The last track contains almost something of a melody, but even that's been tweaked up to evoke a kind of amphetamine menace. Everything unfolds unpredictably in a strange, impressionistic squall. While empirically I have to believe that Jamois was present for the sessions, you could have easily convinced me that one winter night in London, the machines recorded this by themselves.
  • Tracklist
      A Tape 1 B1 Tape 1.2 B2 Tape 2