Memory Tapes – Seek Magic (Rough Trade)
When Dayve Hawk appeared in the blogosphere last fall posting free tracks and mixes under the names Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to his website by my friend Mat. With Weird Tapes, Hawk crafts sample-heavy party music, where he uses familiar samples that trigger vague memories of drunken parties from the past. The bottom line: the stuff is fun and catered towards uninhibited booty shaking. And at the same time, he was also putting out tracks under his Memory Cassette moniker, a more pop-oriented project of dreamy songs with a strong 80’s bent.
And now the seemingly prolific Hawk has released “Seek Magic” using the name Memory Tapes where he weds the best aspects of his earlier projects with refreshingly awesome results. Instead of building tracks with layers of sound, the songs on this album are filled with catchy hooks, choruses, and refrains, in proper pop song fashion. Guitar licks reminiscent of New Order, and analogue synths suggestive of Aphex Twin are meshed together to smashing effect in “Green Knight” and “Bicycle”. The choruses of “Stop Talking” and “Graphics” are so infectious you’ll find yourself singing them for days. Album closer “Run Out” is a perfect come down track, it’s emotional and harmonious, and could easily be stretched out to ten minutes in length and I’d still want to play it over again.
“Seek Magic” is a first-class debut. Compelling, melodic, fun, nostalgic, and steadily climbing ever higher on my top ten for 2009. The bonus track “Treeship” is also a beautiful addendum to the album. Twenty minutes of chilled out ambience. Do yourself a favour and check out Memory Tapes now, as well as, all of Hawk’s nom de guerres.