Eyot Tapes album is a mesmerizing journey through a carefully constructed exotica landscape, recorded with cassette loops, spring reverbs, tape delays, and a modular synthesizer.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the extraordinary label Muscut, which looks for non-obvious, hauntology music, usually created with the use of vintage equipment. It was founded by Nikolaienko, whose last record, mesmerizing Nostalgia Por Mesozóica from 2022, is a kind of imagined soundtrack to an archeological museum. The Ukrainian label inspired Alexander Green, and English producer who may be known to a wider audience as Boddika, founder of the Nonplus Records label, to start his new project, Eyot Tapes. His album, Paradise Lost, is a multilayered psychedelic story recorded with cassette loops, spring reverbs, tape delays, and a modular synthesizer. They generate characteristic vintage sound, which draws deeper and deeper into the music of an imaginary world.
The hazy and abstract atmosphere can catch your attention here, but there are plenty of hidden gems among psychedelic synths or reverbs. ‘Ajor’, a dreamy ‘ambient-pop’ tune with a swirling rhythm, electronic spots, and field recordings, reminds me of the soundtracks from fairy tales rediscovered by Finders Keepers label, where music doesn’t have to be catchy but needs to be unique. Check their Graeme Miller and Steve Shill Moomins’ series with some freaky, analog production and acid melodies. Eyot Tapes ‘Open the books’ has a subtle bassline and rattling of birds, which transform into distorted electronic lines with reverb that leads to silence. The artist said he brings inspiration from short stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, known for his adventure and fantasy book series featuring famous characters such as Tarzan and John Carter. Listening to this track, I imagine this as an alternative soundtrack to the moment when Captain Willard navigates up the Nùng River to Colonel Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’.
The journey to the undiscovered places can be seen in the stories’ titles, which look like successive chapters of a book. Eyot Tapes serves hauntological, circling, meditative loops and melodies; the album is hazy and surreal. This vintage element – the sound of a decaying cassette tape or swirling loops – can be heard clearly when distortion appears, as in ‘Path of Snakes’ when the composition is slowed down with synth motifs in the background. Toward the end, it sounds as if the tape has screwed in. On ‘Lagoon’, there are static, foggy parts – they are hypnotic in a way that Philip Jeck created his Loopholes on turntables and old vinyl. ‘Mama Gone’ features pulsations, radio noises, synth fuzz, and splashy electronic motifs, whereas ‘Grog’ has some dub afterimages.
Paradise Lost could be described as ambient music. Still, too many things happening in the background will catch your attention immediately: nature sounds, non-obvious rhythm with no beats, and spring reverb otherworldly echoes that create the feeling of an unknown space. An analog recording, controlled manually and with no software programming, is open to imperfections and errors, giving it a one-of-a-kind character; the unpolished production is an advantage. The music builds an unusual atmosphere, mesmerizes, and works in a non-linear way, resembling a sound installation. Adding multisensory elements, such as smells or lights, in modern art spaces would have enhanced the experience. Still, even without them, it is a worthwhile journey. Each piece is like another room or place that can only be imagined through this set of sounds. This aesthetic of subtle electronic music ornamented with distorted, and reverb effects would make you reach for a detail of this carefully constructed exotica landscape.
EYOT TAPES Paradise Lost, Muscut.