Today’s Sounds: Memory Tapes

The new synth soup by New Jersey’s Dayve Hawk, aka Memory Tapes, plus a track from A-Trak’s forthcoming Tuna Melt EP and a video with Flying Lotus depicting Elijah Wood as a magic/cursed amputee.


Memory Tapes, Grace/Confusion (Carpark)

Memory Tapes is New Jersey’s Dayve Hawk, who you may know from his previous, Philly-based band Hail Social. Or perhaps because he was nominated for a Grammy this year. His video for “Yes I Know” lost to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” And that’s fair enough. But I’d like to see Adele produce such premium synth-pop. Or anything, actually.

“Neighborhood Watch”, the lead track on Hawk’s new record (out Dec. 4), puts forth a massive hedge of sound – not a wall, because it’s clearly alive. It bristles and throbs under synth and guitar riffs that bend and curve into familiar shapes, threatening to cross the line of good taste and stumble into some serious cheese. But it never quite happens.

“Thru the Field” and “Safety” are much cleaner, evoking the ’80s with stark, blue-eyed-funk basslines, reverb-treated vocals and haunting synths. “Let Me Be” bridges that retro aesthetic with a barbed blend of minimal techno and tribal tropes – steel drums, Afrobeats and, could it be, didgeridoo? Probably not, but the Australian aboriginal instrument produces a similar sound to the sub-bass rumble that runs through the track, the shortest and darkest on the record.

“Sheila” is a moody but upbeat love song, one that overstays its welcome (at 8:31), but that makes the arrival of the closer “Follow Me” all the sweeter. A female back-up vocal, guitar and synth riff weave around each other, their complementary melodies contrasting Hawk’s androgynous lead vocal beautifully.

As my husband rightfully pointed out, one of the central synth sounds is “a little too X Files,” but hey, where would electronic music be without sci-fi? (There was much early innovation in the genre on old sci-fi soundtracks.) Why not give a little back?

Grace/Confusion comes out on Dec. 4, but you can listen to a full album stream at Obscure Sound now.


A-Trak, “Landline” feat. GTA

Oh, hey A-Trak. Montreal’s own releases a new track from his forthcoming EP Tuna Melt, out Dec. 4 on his very own label, Fool’s Gold.



Flying Lotus, “Tiny Tortures”

Elijah Wood stars in this video by L.A. producer Flying Lotus, which could be subtitled “The Dream of the Amputee Becomes a Nightmare.” It’s not the craziest video ever produced by a Warp Records artist, but it’s a deserving part of the canon.

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