Pye Corner Audio – Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3 & 4
The Black Mill Tapes first emerged in 2010, starting a series that introduced listeners to the world of Pye Corner Audio, with The Head Technician’s flair for otherworldly sounds hooking listeners throughout the next four years. Although the initial recordings were self-released in digital format, they were later issued on both cassette and vinyl, with Further Records responsible for the former service and a double LP edition was released on Type in 2012. Now, the Massachusetts-based Type again perform an excellent civic duty in releasing the Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3 & 4 on double vinyl, not least because the fourth volume is filled with all new Pye Corner Audio material.
The Head Technician’s work no doubt pays homage to John Carpenter’s horror legacy, while also referencing early sci-fi soundtracks and oddball electronics via 60s and 70s experiments. These sounds embrace cinematic drama along with warbling experimentation, all throughout Pye Corner Audio’s suspense-filled tracks. Volume 3 starts with a sunken air of melancholy, but hits its stride with “Inside the Wave”, where dramatic synth repetition is soon engulfed by euphoric tones.
Through this double volume release, Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3 & 4 transcends genre boundaries, and reveals a darker, harder-edged sound than some of Our Head Technician’s previous works, with tracks that include slowed down house and techno mutations as well as more ambient leanings. As the track names might suggest, “Memory Wiped” and “Being Obscured By Mist” are disorienting in their fuzzy allure, hidden between the rampant drum beats of surrounding tracks. “Electronic Rhythm Number One” changes the pace, exposing lazer- bright synths, guided by forceful percussion that slices through the track, into a mesmerising oblivion.
“Hexden Channel” starts with fluttering electronic murmurs that slowly evolve into a dazed and distorted disco flashback. Following suit, the seductively sleazy bassline on “Dystopian Vector One” is complemented well by flesh-crawling synths, to the same chilling effect as tracks from Steve Moore’s recent album Pangaea Ultima. “Dystopian Vector Two” continues in an almost beat-free fashion, gently compounding into a surge of howling textures that intertwine in fierce vexation. Through this final release in the Black Mill Tapes series, Pye Corner Audio brings forth ethereal synths that flow seamlessly alongside sinister drum patterns, inducing a trance-like state in the listener, blurring the lines between peaceful dreams and horror-fuelled nightmares.
A1. Pathway Six
A2. Electronic Rhythm Number Five
A3. Transmission Seven:Pathways Open
A4. Inside the Wave
A5. Memory Wiped
A6. Building Obscured by Mist
B1. Electronic Rhythm Number One
B3. Hexden Channel
B4. Transmission Two:Pathways Closed
B5. Electronic Rhythm Number Eighteen*
B6. Theme Number Eight
C1. Transmission Five:The Old Place
C2. Dystopian Vector Part One
C3. Transmission Thirteen:Line of Sight
C4. Electronic Rhythm Number Nine
C5. Theme Number Seven
C6. Electronic Rhythm Number Two
D1. Electronic Rhythm Number Twelve
D2. Transmission Nine:Black Light
D3. Void Bound
D4. Dystopian Vector Part Two
D5. Evil Surrounds
D6. Cont No Stop