singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
10 September 2022
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A mk 2
TEAD Model One

Another of those Polytechnic Youth “Sound Effects Centre” records, in the tracing-paper sleeves. The white paper inner doesn’t work, for me. I’d have gone with a poly inner: they look far better like that. (I tried it.)

Pocket Disco sounds a bit tossed-off. Repeating sequenced bass, bit of 707-ish hi-hat, close the filter at the end, job’s a good ‘un. Circuit Rot is a slightly more varied piece of monosynth noodling. A pleasant way to spend four minutes, but it’s not going to set the world on fire.

I keep saying I’m not going to buy any more Pye Corner Audio records, but they’re often such nice things, and on labels I support, and they keep sneaking in the house. I never dislike them, but I always think The Black Mill Tapes has everything you need.

3

A shadowy flight into the world of a man who does not exist, on the same series as the Pye Corner one we just listened to. Sounds like an MS20 to me. Pretty exciting, short, and sweet.

Before I forget, I should point out that these are about six quid, at a time when most people are charging ten or more for a seven-inch.

On the other side, Casiotone Nails goes for the cheapest sounding synths on the market, but I don’t hear anything that sounds like a Casio to me. Are there any synthesizers at all that are not considered “classic”?

3

There’s a biographical insert which I enjoyed. It’s true, I assume, but at this point in history, who knows? I’ve just read Everett True’s book of stories, and rightly or wrongly it’s left me inclined not to believe anything I read. He’s mentioned in said insert, as the svengali who put Huggy Bear together. I don’t care. I still think they were great. Sorry, grate.

This being Box Bedroom Rebels, the goodies keep coming: a fanzine/flyposter-feel booklet, themed confetti, temporary tattoos, stickers badges, postcards, double-sided sleeve, a download code for NINE tracks. And all of this is under seven quid. And it’s new. Basically, the opposite of a Record Store Day 7”. It’s also very well pressed: no surface noise whatsoever, and that’s very rare these days.

Musically though, most of it left me a bit cold. There’s something (beyond calling a song Outrun) very 1980s about it, and it’s from a genre I’m not very familiar with. Poppy but punky but not punk-pop or pop-punk or whatever they call it.

Didn’t quite hit the mark for me, but like all BBR releases, a beautiful thing packed with music made by people who mean it. I look forward to the next one.

3

A reissue from a time when classic synthesizers were just called synthesizers. The difference between this and Pye Corner Audio is pretty much the drums, which The Egyptian Lover wanted to not sound like an ’80s drum machine, and Pye Corner Audio wants to sound like an ’80s drum machine. I don’t know what Hanky Panky is or was, or what he was doing. (I don’t know what Hanky Panky’s pronouns are. They weren’t so big on them in the ’80s.) Remember that song Madonna did, called Hanky Panky? That’s the only music I ever remember being embarrassed about liking. I’m not sure whether I still like it. Haven’t heard it in a while. But if I do, I won’t be embarrassed any more.

On the ‘b’ Jamie Jupitor, who presumably loves Roland synths so much that he can’t spell them, does a remix which is pretty decent, if not massively different. Bit of good vocoder though, and it’s not every day you’ll hear me say that.

3
FridgeAnglepoised
12" single

I’m surprised Fridge aren’t a lot more collectible. Kieran Hebden’s done well for himself; the records were always nice things, and the music was the sort of intellectual, connoisseur type stuff that might build a following.

I have a stack of Fridge records that I never play, and I thought it was time to give them a spin for probably the first time in twenty-five years.

This, apparently their second single (I think I have the first, but it’s a seven and I’m not going digging ye) is in a lovely green-grey sleeve; the kind of very specific colour you imagine someone agonised over. Information is printed in white, not-quite on the sleeve, so the top of “FRIDGE ANGLEPOISED” is missing.

Anglepoised is quarter of an hour long, across all of side 1. It’s a lovely comfortable electric-bass groove over an 808 beat. That tuned-down analogue kick sounds so good. As time passes, samples, arps, drones and milk bottles drift in and out. In its more pared-down moments, it’s the kind of thing you might hear in a pretentious bar where they play “vinyls” because they’re “warmer”, and sell orange wine primarily so they can explain what it is. But this record, like the rest of us, deserves far better than that. Music to listen to properly. On a good stereo.

Astrozero is guitar, bass, and drums starting off spare and jazzy, and gradually transforming into Mogwai without the delusions of grandeur. Simple Harmonic Motion (flashbacks to ‘A’ level maths) marries a repetitive bass line with tippy-tappy found-object percussion and a bit of feedback. Concert in Your House muses on a short riff for a minute or two. Config samples the kind of records The Caretaker ended up taking such a shine to, but over a bass loop, and polluted with noise.

4
FridgeLign
12" single

I think I have this on 7 as well. Lign (all 38 seconds of it) is one of my favourite songs. I used to put it on pretty much every mixtape I made, and I made a lot of mixtapes. It was perfect to open, to close, or to break a pattern. And it only took 38 seconds to put it there. This is the extended mix: the one on the seven is even shorter. Thinking about it, I probably used that one. Fridge songs were always very long or very short, and Sequoia is very long, and more than a little Tortoisey. The violin is lovely, but I was a little bored by the end of it.

The Traps, despite being based around an analogue sequencer line, is a little bit jazzy for my taste, but I did enjoy Fisa, which reminded me very much of Gritty Shaker by David Holmes.

I like how thoughtfully put together this music is. There’s fun and experimentalism in the electronics, but there’s deep musicianship underneath. Serious, without taking itself seriously.

3