Static noise like machine gun fire morphs into computer game idents, as a pitched down voice introduces staccato loops and background noise bursts like waves breaking on a digital beach. A guitar appears and chops out a few half pronounced chords whilst a monstrous compressor coaxes pulses of hiss and hum with industrial regularity. The brainchild of Deep Tapes/Heat Rave label boss Alex Gray, DJ Purple Image’s s woozy sound collage mixes up radiophonic minimalism, mutant techno, plunderphonics and psychedelia all with an underlying eldritch feel. It has something in common with the Not Not Fun label stable, recalling the smudged aesthetics of James Ferraro, KWJAZ and LX Sweat amongst others.
We are once again in the land of the tape aesthetic, with the ghosts of music past appearing in the sonic murk but never fully revealing themselves, fragments of a twisted history which only serves to blur the boundaries between here and there. Track six – the tracks are numbered without titles – is a case in point as a folky organ groove first goes radiophonic, then morphs into a kind of Doors pastiche complete with slowed down vocal and harmonica interludes. Track ten seems central to the album’s aesthetic; a vision of where we are and where we might be going, as the filtered whisper of a four to the floor house remnant gets the ten minute treatment, subjected to brutal deconstruction and hyper compression. Its stateliness and icy beauty still comes through, like displaced gems scattered over the remains of a once functional groove.
This is not an easy album to categorise and will be of interest to fans of the far left bank of electronic reinvention. Splendidly irreverent, fiercely maverick, this is music for a space to which the coordinates do not yet fully exist. Set the controls for the head tear of the drunken sun…