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Various/The Big Pink – Tapes review

While The Big Pink have gone from strength to strength in the last year, largely off the back of their indie singalong (or shoutalong) hit “Dominos” and album A Brief History Of Love, singer Milo Cordell has also maintained the fine imprint Merok on the side. Responsible for first releases by The Klaxons and Crystal Castles amongst others, it more than proves Cordell’s fine ear for new and underrated sounds – so much so that !K7 have hooked up Cordell for the latest in their series of “Tapes” mixes.

Anyone familiar with The Big Pink’s penchant for waves of shoegaze-styled noise might have an inkling of what to expect – but truly this mix goes a long way to explain exactly where they draw their inspiration from. Thrillingly, it turns out to be a series of fascinating and unlikely sources. The fearless opener, “Slow Dancer” by Grtllgrtll, makes plain Cordell’s affection for a sound variously known as drag, screwgaze or witch house – the more gothy progression of the syrup-swilling sub-strain of hip-hop, chopped and screwed. With many of the artists in that scene, like Henry Moan, Sewn Leather and Horse Macgyver barely having released anything yet, this mix makes an almost unique primer for this weird and woozy genre.

Slightly more conventional tunes, like Joker’s excellent “Snake Eater”, ZVA’s “Nothing” or Gang Gang Dance’s “Ego Wa0r” fit into the mix perfectly, still exuding the same bleery-eyed and hypnagogic feeling but with razor sharp beats to set them apart. Other oddities, like the operatic pop of Light Asylum’s “Shallow Tears” or even The xx’s icy “Fantasy” also sit amongst the chaotic storm of viciously slowed down tunes well indeed. With Salem and oOoOO also included, this is a must-hear for anyone with even an ounce of sonic adventurism inside them.

Oliver Keens