I Guess Sometimes I Need To Be Reminded Of How Much You Love Me
By: Eric G.
Retro-futurism meets the chaos theory on Magnetophone's debut full-length. The Birmingham, England duo makes its noise with dated synthesizers and wildly erratic rhythmic dysfunction. The tone is dark, of course, as Magnetophone meanders through showers of textural discord, avoiding anything that would even remotely lead a raver to the dancefloor.
Magnetophone's music is equally beautiful and incoherent. The light strands of melody that underscore the distorted rhythmic pulses reveal an ambient core, but the abrasiveness of the beats will prevent any comparisons to Aphex Twin or U-Ziq. There's little adherence to formula as few songs explore structured soundscapes, building sometimes aimlessly and sometimes effectively into the inevitable cacophony of noise.
"Songs" like the trip-hop-turned-on-its-head melancholia of "Oh Darlin'" are few and far between as evidenced by the eerie sparseness and un-melodic rumblings of "Didn't I Blow Your Mind?" and the cosmic serenity of "Temporary Lid/Georgia." Somehow Magnetophone manages to convey enough emotion through these seemingly cold displays of electronic composition so as not to seem too detached or unfeeling. Must be the old synthesizers.
The tracks that do reveal recurrent themes tend to rub your face in it, repeating ad nauseum a simplistic beat while a barrage of electronic effects swarm and sputter. "Machine Surrender/Milk Of The Commander" deserves mentioning not only for its title but also for its hypnotic syncopation and electronic deconstruction. "Air Methods" is a musical call to arms of sorts with its industrialized noise that builds and builds until a thick militaristic march consumes the entire song.
Magnetophone intelligently downplays obvious drum and bass references in favor of an even more inaccessible medium of electronic expression. The music is not so much playful as it is tragic- a film of hopelessness shrouds much of the record. I Guess Sometimes I Need To Be Reminded Of How Much You Love Me is a confident testament to musical disorder- striking for both its beautiful underbelly and harsh-sounding surface.