Cutting up reams and reams of old school video tapes, VHS Head’s latest album is one of the highest lo-fi calibre. The high-tech yet lo-fi brilliance of VHS Head returns to the ever-reliable Skam imprint for another album of videotape-sampled majesty, entitled ‘Persistence Of Vision’. As on 2010’s scintillating debut ‘Trademark Ribbons of Gold’, much of what makes the Blackpool producer’s work so unique is its combination of IDM precision and nostalgic sampling.
Not content to simply wallow in a washy vintage haze, the cuts sparkle with pinpoint, bass heavy grooves, making Skam, where the likes of Autechre and Boards of Canada made their debuts, a great home for them. The unbridled horror of ‘Don’t Look In The Closet’ is pristine in its execution, fuzzy in spirit and utterly terrifying. ‘Gas Human No. 1’ careens on a twisted precipice, jangly guitars clashing with gurgling basslines and stretched claps. ’Dead To Morrow’ is a rare moment of light, expansive arpeggios hinting at a positivity that seems to be lacking, before the track collapses on to a whirlpool of broken rhythms. ‘Body Magic’ treads a similar path to the work of Bristol’s Hyetal, 80s guitar samples chopped to pieces and fed through a grinder of reflective percussion claps, a new experience fashioned from the bones of another time. A listen that’s terrifying and exhilarating and, ultimately, inspiring, Persistence Of Vision provides us with a chilling take on a modern age as viewed through the lens of a bygone era.
As featured in the Mid-year Roundup 2014