Not much is known about the shadowy figure of the Head Technician, the man supposedly behind Pye Corner Audio. There are rumours that in another life he was an engineer to the stars, and while that can’t be verified, there’s certainly an air of expertise in this bumper set of productions. ‘The Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1 & 2’ were originally released by the Technician himself, and have been picked up for a very special vinyl release. These collect up the first handfuls of tracks from the Pye Corner Audio vaults, and are a perfect introduction to the Head Technician’s fuzzy Radiophonic funk.
While Pye Corner Audio might be loosely associated with the much-lauded Ghost Box collective, his music is more difficult to put a finger on. At times the dusty soundscapes bring to mind the flickering into to mid 60s Doctor Who, but at others you’re catapulted into a Dodge-driving neon-flecked US road movie circa 1979. It’s an enviable concoction of genres, with the muted 4/4 pulse of Theo Parrish sitting happily alongside the wired electro of Other People Place and the cracked homespun ambience of early Boards of Canada. Somehow though, our Head Technician uses his technical knowhow to pull it off, and emerge with a collection of tracks that is far more than an exercise in retro fetishism. ‘The Black Mill Tapes’ are a collection of long lost club records, engineered solely for the woozy drive home – 4am, long highways and bright lights. Just leave Ryan Gosling out of it.