Review: Prequel Tapes – Inner Systems

Prequel Tapes - Inner SystemsTicking, pattering, flickering. The signals of mechanised preparation. A bass drum clacks along the underside of “When We Fall Into The Light” like a rollercoaster in slow ascent; synths cut out like broken strobes on “The Comfort Of Feeling Numb”, flashing in a state of violent and ominous forewarning; the soft pops on the title track sound like dents in old magnetic tape, perforating the path toward absolute disintegration. Inner Systems is the sound of atmospheres under construction – the gradual adornment of a naked chassis, with wires tangled around a hulking metallic frame and raw lights blazing violently, devoid of a casing to direct or dim them.

The image in my head is that of a gigantic factory space. Inner Systems is not a digital record, but an electronica of visceral industry – rave synths blasting against cold concrete, gentle melodies like sparks from welded surfaces, the hum of intense heat and concentration. The lurking dub of “Scarlet Fog” seems to respire through iron lungs to a humid backdrop of synthetic brass, while the soft techno of “Dragon Keys” fizzes with the excitement of imminent completion, with melodies spiralling like cogs and the ascending drones of engines whirring into activity. Given the fixation on process, Inner Systems is not a record of smooth edges and digitally calibrated corners; rather, it is covered with the marks of miscalculation, gradually approaching its final shape via the negotiation between too much and too little. This is the music of trial and error; ad hoc volume adjustments and real-time FX experimentation, using electronic instruments to channel a very human process of perseverance and correction.