Simpler Times – The Trilogy Tapes

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With the internet having made everything available to everyone everywhere at any time, the rate at which we are given and consume information increases daily, not least in the world of electronic music. Its an effort to keep up with the 20 odd podcasts that your iTunes probably downloads for you each week, so what does it take to make one of them jump out at you in the fight for a valuable hour of your time? A tracklist full of exclusives? the biggest name Dj or your favourite label? electronic music is moving at such a rate that its impossible to listen to and actually take in each new track as it comes along so i was stoked to come across The Trilogy Tapes project, a place of refuge amongst the digital fallout of the beatport generation. The Trilogy tapes was started in 2009, the mixtapes and recordings released are curated by graphic designer and photographer Will Bankhead, who alongside Ben Drury produced some iconic artwork for James Lavelles Mo'Wax label in the 90's and more recently has been responsible for the stunning record sleeves on the Honest Jons label for artists including The Moritz Von Oswald Trio,T++ and Actress as well as James Blake and Pariah to name just a few. The TTT web shop is a goldmine full of gems, everything from the latest mix by Ben UFO, (who's tape is a trip through some of the finest garage and early grime records ever to have been pressed on one side and a typically on point selection of house on the other) to a live recording of Kassem Mosse's set at Plan B in Brixton back in June. both are on cassette, the beautifully simple medium that sounds slightly different with each listen, crackles and hiss appear with each time you play them and the bass is seriously heavy. What better way to record Mosses' analog house output than straight to tape, with a couple of wonky mixes and all. The beauty of each release on TTT is that they only exist on tape, they are put out with the bare minimum of information and that only serves to increase the listeners curiosity, its unlikely that the rapidshare gang will have the patience to rip the audio and 'up' it meaning that if you want in on these brilliant recordings your going to have to act fast because they don't get re-issued once they sell out and a quick glance at the site well tell you that they do, fast. UFO and Mosse are just the tip of the Trilogy Tape iceberg though, dig deeper and you'll find the intimidating but captivating sonic experiments of the mysterious (and ex Mo'Wax signed) Black Lodge who have released 2 tapes of their sets, recorded live at the Kings Arms in Manchester (check their blog at www.lodgewars.blogspot.com for a visual feast) ,the post hardcore punk madness of Boron & the Grebes that was probably recorded in a basement in California where madly distorted guitars are tortured, creating walls of noise thats almost harnessed by a really cheap drum machine, creating a dialog with a half broken synth that attempts to play melodies now and then, as if that wasn't enough some screamed fragments of non-sensical vocals drift in and out of the recordings - NEED TO FINISH THIS BIT Aside from music TTT also sell limited edition, hand printed T-shirts by contributing artists including Bankhead, Drury, filmmaker Nick Relph and artist/zine maker Oliver Payne. (Black lodge also guest edited one of his 'Safe Crackers' zines) as well as the latest offering, the Venus Knock E.P. 12" from Australian production wizard Dro Carey who's shockingly prolific output will make your ears perk up at the first listen when you discover his bass heavy tracks that take elements of hip-hop, synth pop, skew, wonky, all those good things, to create pure magic. Check his Tumblr at http://drocar.tumblr.com but put a while aside as you enter into his online world, 93 pages (and counting) of pictures, text and most importantly countless tracks he has produced, enjoy. His 12" that just dropped on TTT is only the start for him, we'll all be hearing a lot more of Dro Carey in next year, his is the sound of 2011 make no mistake of that…not bad for a kid who's still in high school… Even before my tapes had arrived in the post i was planning an hour out with my tape deck, when the packet of plastic arrived i almost felt like i should be hiding them, there is a sleazy quality to cassette tapes similar to that of the dirty magazines you probably had stashed under your bed when you were a nipper…Actually sitting down with the intention of just listening to the tapes in hand is a liberating experience, thats all your there to do, just you and the tape deck, no iTunes, no checking Facebook or twitter just some time for you to take in the static hisses and slight fluctuations in playback speed while all this brilliant music flows out the speaker. And then it reminds you, this is how mixes used to change hands, pirate radio sets recorded onto c-90s and passed around close friends…simpler times indeed. Alex Digard. www.thetrilogytapes.com www.lodgewars.blogspot.com drocar.tumblr.com