Datasette – Offal (1999 – 2014)

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offal

Very rarely am I compelled to read most things, let alone write about music. I have enough trouble explaining my own. And yet writing I am, about a release that happened a couple of months ago that you may/may not know about and it was MASSIVE. I mean that in a very literal sense.

When John Davis who is Datassette suggested he was about to ‘do an Aphex’ and upload a mother-load of unreleased music, I was in equal parts both excited and unsurprised. All preceding music on his Bandcamp page brims with a solid and earthy originality…of course he would have a huge forgotten stash of gems just lying around.

Offal comprises 100 tracks of alleged offcuts. Whilst a rare few actually live up to this self-depreciation (‘FX Doodle‘ springs to mind) this couldn’t be a more misleading title. I had imagined it difficult for any artist to hold my attention over that many tracks, since most barely manage one. Truth is, even though I was initially drawn to varying BPMs of tweak funk like ‘Datasection‘, ‘Cruxifix‘, ‘Nanotube Tera‘, ‘Dennis Greenidge Acid‘, ‘Computers (edit)‘ and ‘Long Eggs‘, the album’s consistency is more than the sum of its 100 random parts. Many of the tracks are short but this does not hinder their impact at all.

I’m into my electro but it’s not at the very top of my list, if only more electro was like this it would be. ‘Fever Dream‘, ‘Autodoll‘ and ‘Croissant Frenzy‘ roll those deep and chewy bass arpeggi-i. ‘Fuel‘ is the warmest kind of dub techno, ‘Hedge 8, Area B – Dog-Egg‘ and ‘Gland Rover‘ – flat-out bangers.

On the one hand frequent and lush ambient interludes like ‘Rain Theme‘ or house-ish ‘Salad Error‘ have polished reserve, on the other, retro-format references throughout including an homage to the classic bitmap brothers theme. ‘Speedball 2 Amiga remix‘ ensures that knowing humour and eclectic-ness will always out.

A few influences are clear; my hideously generalised sound bite definition (broadly) sitting somewhere between Kraftwerk, Boards of Canada and Drexciya, but with better CHORDS. Don’t get me started on the production. Blasphemy huh, suck it up. And it’s better than the AFX Soundcloud dump. There, I said it. Worth a fiver of anyone’s money anyroad, I’d suggest.

Ben Pest

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