Posted on 12/24/2012
Memory Tapes could be described as an electronic music producer, but perhaps referring to him as a weaver of sound collages would be more appropriate. This is in a different sense than producers such as J Dilla and the Avalanches. Memory Tapes, real name Dayve Hawk, uses practically every sound and tambre at his disposal to create the music heard on Grace/Confusion. A synth tone appearing during a verse may never appear again; sounds appear to come out of nowhere and disappear as quickly as they entered. This shows a different side of musicianship that is often overlooked - rather than cramming as many notes and scales in to a song as possible, Hawk shows a mastery of the tonal palette. He also uses some live instrument in the form of an electric guitar, an instrument frowned upon by too many annoying synth purists.
It's worth discussing how Grace/Confusion plays in to the progression of Memory Tapes' back catalogue. The debut Seek Magic had lo-fi blissed out bedroom producer charm. Its follow-up Player Piano proved to be a substantial departure, turning down the reverb a notch and emphasizing songcraft. This record kind of sits in between those two, yet still goes in its own direction. There are passages that are more ambient and spacious than anything on the debut, and some that are more immediate than any on the sophomore release. There are ginormous synthesizers that call one to the dancefloor more than these earlier releases could have suggested. There are also some tones that hint at a possible fondness for overlooked New Wave artists like Red Rockers or the Icicle Works. Memory Tapes shows the sign of a true artist in that he is consistently evolving rather than attempting to recreate the same product with each release, and that's why we are always interested in what he has for us.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer.
Tags: Memory Tapes Grace/Confusion weekly release spotlight