September 11, 2010

VHS Head - Trademark Ribbons of Gold (2010)

Blackpool's VHS Head made quite an impression with his Skam debut Video Club some months back. Now following an acclaimed set for the Mary Anne Hobbs Radio 1 show he presents a remarkable debut album, sounding like something approaching James Ferraro or Daniel "OPN" Lopatin's Games project, as edited by Gescom. Over the twenty tracks he deploys a palette of atypical Skam edits and icy spikes of digital glitch to a barrage of samples - mostly idents, incidental music - presumably lifted from his collection of video tapes. It's a vividly idiosyncratic world he's created here, like being given access to his private den built out of clamshell cases, which actually turns out to be the portal into a videodrome arena of schlocky drama and strangeness on the cusp of the analog-to-digital transition which occurred across the '80s. But that's just one side of his flex, the other relies upon his razor sharp editing skills, hitting that '86 vibe head-on with lethal electro/boogie edits nodding to Arthur Baker and Mantronix as much as Aphex Twin or Autechre. Just check the chops on 'Twitch Of The Nerve' or 'The Murder Cycles' and you could be in the most twisted Blackpool nightclub that never existed. It's blatantly the best thing Skam have released in years and shouldn't disappoint anyone who knows what that means.

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