Pye Corner Audio

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1-4 (2014) , 7/10

Pye Corner Audio, the project of English keyboardist Martin Jenkins, assimilated Detroit techno, John Carpenter's soundtracks, Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979), Brian Eno's Another Green World (1975), and Kraftwerk's Autobahn (1974) via Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada, and mediated by retro-futurist revivalists such as Oneohtrix Point Never, and produced ambient instrumental synth-pop on the triple-disc Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1-4 (Type, 2014), that compiles four cassettes of 2010-2014. This translucent kaleidoscope consists of more than 40 compositions, including a series of "electronic rhythms" (such as the hypnotic funk phrase of Electronic Rhythm Number Three, the pompous Electronic Rhythm Number Seven, the syncopated Electronic Rhythm Number Twelve and the austere Electronic Rhythm Number Four), a series of "themes" (notably the austere, almost religious, Theme Number Seven) and a series of "transmissions" (the most abstract part of the project). Jenkins borrows not only ideas from the classics but sometimes even iconic beats: We Have Visitors is suspiciously reminiscent of the Love Of Life Orchestra's Extended Niceties, Electronic Rhythm Number Eight is, ultimately, an elegant and subliminal evocation of Giorgio Moroder's From Here to Eternity (1977), and Electronic Rhythm Number One sounds like a remix/deconstruction of Los del Rio's Macarena (1994). Jenkins is at his best when he merges different strands of inspiration, for example in the ambient horror techno of Electronic Rhythm Number Eighteen, a blend of Autechre, Sisters Of Mercy and Morricone's spaghett-western feeling. The method is relatively trivial (gentle melodic drifts over gentle rhythmic patterns) but can yield a broad range of outputs besides impressionistic sketches (Building Obscured By Mist) and new-age relaxation music (Recrypt and Cont No Stop). There is the hypnotic glacial disintegrating sub-techno of Toward Light, as well as the propulsive Evil Surrounds; the denser and more aggressive Dystopian Vector Part One and Dystopian Vector Part Two, as well as the African-esque Void Bound. Jenkins is a cautious and sophisticated artisan of timbres, and the connection with the soundtracks of vintage sci-fi/horror films is almost irrelevant. His art is more about recasting machine music as humane music than about creating sensational mood.

Sleep Games (Ghost Box, 2012) contains the oneiric and cinematic Sleep Games.

Martin Jenkins also released Bucolica (2013) under the moniker House In The Woods, which is more properly ambient music (no rhythms).

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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