Yet Pye Corner Audio isn't merely "the next Ekoplekz," or worse, a sign that audio-spiritualism is running on empty. Though fans of any of the above are likely to open their hearts (or, better yet, third eyes) to PCA, their music reaches this world through a portal all its own. Type's new compilation of the first two Black Mill Tapes, spread across four visceral sides, takes the Head Technician's singular aesthetic out of the shadows.
The Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1&2 does plenty to show off PCA's analog warmth, but where this music truly departs from that of its peers is in its compositional approachability: ambient washes and sinewaves abound, but the Head Technician has an apparent knack for beats and melodies that stick with you, pairing his obvious early electronic music obsession with a fondness for the sleaze of the decade or three that came after. Tracks like "Electronic Rhythm Number Three" and "We Have Visitors," slinky head-nodders with basslines stretching toward sunrise, wouldn't sound entirely out of place on Beats In Space. "Recrypt" and "Toward Light," two late-collection highlights, even out-AIR AIR, with lovingly cheesed-up synth melodies and makeout-friendly tempos. But even if it's not as self-serious or scary as its more famous brethren, the net effect is chilly: oscillators attempt underhanded hypnosis on "Transmission Four: Crooked Hill," a vortex of ghosts whooshes out from "Building Twelve, Room One," and all that stands between you and doom on "A Dark Door" is a too-thin layer of static. Still, the only real warning that should accompany a Pye Corner Audio release is that it's profoundly addictive—a creaky cabin in the woods you'll want to become a permanent resident of.