Pye Corner Audio: Black Mill Tapes Volume 5: The Lost Tapes LP

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"In the beginning, there was just a box of tapes and 'Fate's Gentle Hand.' It was the autumn of 2010, and an anonymous figure known only as the Head Technician, an employee of Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services, found himself at an auction in the village of Coldred, pop. 110. He was on the hunt for tobacco pipes when he chanced across a trio of boxes listed in the auction catalog, which described their contents only as 'archived magnetic recordings.' The sole bidder, he won the lot, and upon receipt of his purchase took possession of an unspecified number of moldering cassettes and ¼" reel-to-reel tapes. The collection contained no identifying information save for a single phrase scrawled on each box: Black Mill Sessions. And so, armed with razors, eyedroppers, and a bevy of solid-state circuitry, the Head Technician sat down at his machines and got to work . . . Some of the tapes displayed an unusual amount of degradation and ... an unsettling amount of background noise, whether electrical in nature, or otherwise,' wrote the Head Technician . . . It was a good yarn, and the music was better still. Like his contemporaries Demdike Stare and Ghost Box, Pye Corner Audio seemed to be tapping into some hidden energy current, channeling spirits via electrical means. The pioneering transmissions of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop could be detected lurking within the music's staticky swirl; so could the ominous throb of John Carpenter's film soundtracks. Drones and flutes commingled with chugging machine beats; miasmic clouds of haunted tone alternated with death disco. It all sounded eerie, otherworldly, possibly occult -- yet also, in tracks like the glimmering 'We Have Visitors,' accented with a hint of mischief. Over the next few years, Martin Jenkins -- for that, after all, was the Head Technician's name -- would go on to release three more volumes of Black Mills Tapes. Among the dozens of releases he has put out since 2010, they remain among the most beloved in his catalog. Now, ten years after Avant Shards first appeared, Lapsus is pleased to present Black Mill Tapes Volume 5: The Lost Tapes. The musical landscape has changed considerably in the past decade, but what is remarkable about the Black Mills Tapes material is that it hasn't aged a day; its retro-futurist transmissions sound just as mysteriously compelling as they did the first time around. While they purport to faithfully transcribe the sound of yesterday's technology, they end up being something more: a record of what we wish the past sounded like -- a rickety tape transfer of desire itself, spooled and boxed, just awaiting discovery." --Philip Sherburne

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