tue 09/08/2022

Album: Let's Emerge - Pye Corner Audio | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Let's Emerge - Pye Corner Audio

Album: Let's Emerge - Pye Corner Audio

The Head Technician returns with an unexpected feelgood hit of the summer

Martin Jenkins, AKA The Head Technician, AKA Pye Corner Audio, is all about layers. From the stacked pseudonyms, to the dense, sound-steeped strata of his music, there’s lots going on.

His Black Mill Tapes series, released over the last 12 years or so, blends elements of contemporary dance music, epic electronic soundtracks, music concrète and dense, brooding atmospherics. The sound of dark soot dust descending on a remote hillside, it’s simultaneously comforting and claustrophobic. 2021’s Entangled Roots, meanwhile, was inspired by the underground conversational pathways of plants, taking listeners on a journey through these neural natter networks. It’s music made for The Upside Down – why run up a hill when you can dig deep into nature’s crawlspaces?

Let’s Emerge!, Jenkins’ second release for Sonic Cathedral, is, as the title suggest, a very different beast. There are similar sonic touchstones, sure, but feels like he’s thrown open the doors and let the sun flood in.  

The theme, one of emerging from hibernation, has particular resonance when viewed as cultural commentary after years of being cut off behind closed doors, but there’s something else going on here. Let’s Emerge! is the sound of Jenkins’ music coming out of itself. Where once it was introspective and reflective, exploring inner spaces and worlds of its own making, here it’s face full to the light, back straight, arms wide, eyes open.

From the elegiac opening rustlings of “De-Hibernation”, to the circling tones and drones of “Lyracal” and the sea-soaked synths of “Let’s Emerge Part One”, there’s a new lightness to Jenkins’ sound. These are compositions to fill vaulted atriums and overload the senses. Even on centrepiece “Let’s Emerge Part One” and “Luminescence”, where the tone is more similar to Jenkins’ earlier work,  there’s still a newfound urgency. Where previous releases had grooves defined by a lilting hesitancy, there’s now a curious canter – the sound of a song exploring the world rather than shrouding itself in mystery.

This is aided in no small part by the addition of guitar from labelmate Andy Bell. The result of a creative trade that saw Jenkins remix tracks from Bell’s first solo LP The View From Halfway Down, the Ride guitarist has held up his end of the bargain beautifully, adding weight, texture and an architectural counterpoint to half the pieces here.

The pacing throughout is perfect, and culminates in the rolling pulse of the seven-and-a-half-minute-long “Warmth of the Sun”. Named, one presumes, after the Beach Boys 1964 song, it’s a soaring salutation, blending art-rock minimalism, experimental synths and blissed-out Balearica.

It’s not pop music, not by a long shot, but Let’s Emerge! is an unexpected feelgood hit of the summer.

@jahshabby

 

A soaring salutation, blending art-rock minimalism, experimental synths and blissed-out Balearica

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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