Special Request - Bedroom Tapes

  • Poetic techno from a young Paul Woolford.
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  • Bedroom Tapes, the second of four Paul Woolford LPs scheduled for this year, is a portrait of the artist as a young man. It's not clear exactly how young—the press text only specifies that he made these recordings "at a tender age" and recently rediscovered them in a box of old cassettes. At any rate, the music certainly sounds tender. The eight tracks included here paint a melancholic and emotive picture, with Detroit strings, classic Roland bass tones and gently acidic synth lines. They're common synthesizer sounds, yet Woolford managed to make these traditional techno tropes feel poetic and intimate. Bedroom Tapes expresses a range of big moods, from lovesick to serenely introspective. There's an adolescent intensity to the emotions here, as if each track is nearly overwhelmed with the particular vibe it portrays. Lullaby keys and heartstring synths coalesce into elegiac anthems like "Double Rainbow" and "Shoreline." "Panaflex Sunrise" transmits a poignant sense of longing with its prickly synth sequence and singing-angel pads. Although they're all mixable and work with standard techno motifs, these tracks create a sentimental mood that seems more appropriate for private spaces than parties. Even the most energetic cuts, like the sparkling and heavily melodic "Phosphorescence," is artistic and emotional where a utilitarian club tool might simply be moody. Of course, the backstory and general vibe of Bedroom Tapes suggest that young Woolford was more interested in expressing himself than following club music conventions. The 12-minute "Xenopsis" demonstrates his knack for songwriting and for managing suspense and catharsis. The record as a whole vouches for his ability to convey human mental and emotional states using only electronic instruments. Because this music was recorded directly from old machines, it feels personal, but not unique. Without knowing it was made by a young Paul Woolfword, it might come off simply as passionate and touching hardware sketches with classic techno components. Nevertheless, these tapes show signs of promise in Woolford's ability to work within his limitations to create something powerful and personal.
  • Tracklist
      01. Panaflex Sunrise 02. Pineal Gland 03. Thermatropic 04. Shoreline 05. Entropy 06. Xenopsin 07. Double Rainbow 08. Phosphorescence