Fresh from his tour with the legendary John Foxx as part of the ‘John Foxx And The Maths’ lineup, Benge returns to his studio for Chemical Tapes and proceeds to cut to the heart of synthesised music.
4 tracks, 4 synthesisers, recorded to tape, creating an alternate utopia of discarded technologies where analogue reigns.
Chemical Tapes really put the effort into making their releases look dead professional, and not only that but this little Benge tape here has a track-by-track talk through by the artist himself and a little introduction he's written about what he likes about cassette tapes. There's four tracks of modular synth looping on here, each originating from a different machine. Opener 'Untitled (Putney)', made with a Putney Synthi passing through an EHX looping unit, has swells of bassy drone over which trebly chirrups gradually gather, with increasingly ominous and panicky effect until it's shivery washes of treble rumble, which then morphs into whooshes and croaks. On the second track 'Untitled (Moog)' it's a Moog model 3C's turn to take centre stage, running through various echo and reverb units to make a throbbing mid drone with minimal flourishes in the top and bottom. Calming, pensive meditations both.
On the flip things start getting a bit more complex, and if it wasn't for the unobtrusive nature of the tones this could be a bit hard work. It sounds like a soft drone with a bit of crackle and interference but it is in fact a Serge Modular system fed through a DBX stereo compression unit and then layered onto itself using the EHX mentioned earlier, which also pops up in the final exploration 'Untitled (Paia)', which utilises a 1974 Paia 4700 modular system. I'll leave what that one sounds like to your imagination. Unobtrusive late night modular ambient fun.