Tapes - Hissing Theatricals

I've never been a huge digidub fan.  I guess I've never really been a huge dub fan to begin with so that kind of precluded the possibility of getting into digidub.  Dub always seems too preoccupied with a kind of stoner melancholia, and digidub sounded too piercingly cheap for me.  I certainly haven't sampled enough to stamp the whole genre, but from what I've heard...well lets say maybe I haven't heard enough.  The UK based Tapes' newest 12" called Hissing Theatricals has changed my attitude somewhat.  Part of it is that these tracks are deliciously economic and brief.  Dub gets boring for me after I hear a couple phrases of the same groove and no amount of delay tap shifting will convince me otherwise.  This record isn't about hypnosis or even mesmerization, these are lean and tight structural grooves, that shift and hammer and cut.  They hardly even cut loose.  These are made by a robot from an unsought past.  Sonically, Tapes is playing with degenerated tape surfaces, crackling bitcrushed moogs and junos oscillating a bit out of tune like a cassette that's been fried in the glove compartment.  For all those 8-bit heads out there, this is how you do it right.  This record does two things well.  It places a ton of hiss and frizz on the surface of the sound, giving it a super crisp, bristling profile, but doesn't skimp you on the depth of the mix.  The kicks really thump and the reverbs really haunt.  One of the things I like about this EP is that there are some mean juicy bangers, like the kingston robocop hustle of "C20 Riddim", or "Gold Love Riddim", a track that Major Lazer couldn't dream of copping to for its authenticity (is there any record more full of posturing than Major Lazer?? Ok fine, there was that horrendous N.A.S.A. record.)  But there are also these gorgeous, miniature romances, that just swish along aimlessly, content with themselves.  "Good Thing You Came Along" is almost cut from the same cloth as a Nite Jewel track - plaintive, shabby, and sort of lobotomized.  I'm not sure how interesting any of this stuff would be to see live, it might be kind of a downer, but if you're looking for something rarefied and next level in this genre Tapes is holding it down for all you sleepy, backpack wearing motherfuckers.

Tapes - C20 Riddim

Tapes - Good Thing You Came Along

Tapes - Gold Love Riddim

Tapes - Lowry Dub 

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