Midnight Section Midnight Section

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VHS Head VHS HeadMidnight Section

8 / 10

VHS Head  Midnight Section SKAM

One of the most common misconceptions about hypnagogic pop is its supposed nostalgic character. However, most of the records filed under the label could never have been released in the eighties. One of the most obvious cases is VHS Head, whose way of working is brilliant in its simplicity: sampling sounds from old VHS tapes – films and trailers of films. Of course, those who grew up in the eighties will remember some of those trailers, of films they would never hear from again. And it's precisely there where our man is looking for his sounds. Let's not forget that those tapes were in the video shops at the time; one of the most exciting places for a kid or teen in those days, because of the excitement promised by its shelves, especially in the horror section.

Horror is exactly VHS Head's favourite genre, palpable on the first track, “Sundown”, reminiscent of John Carpenter and those ominous and heavy synths we so link to that decade. “ Sundown”, however, is a prologue, different from the rest of the album because it sounds the most like what's described above. What follows, starting with the chaotic and out-of-control funk of “Jager”, is a much more abrupt sound built from broken down and reassembled samples, with some highly addictive collages. And that's something not to be overlooked, because more often than not, when someone comes up with an original idea, the theory is more enjoyable than the practice. But not in this case: these seven tracks make you want more. Firstly because of the joy they transmit, at times creating rhythms that would be perfect for an Electronic Body Music set, on “Decapitron” for example. Secondly because this is one of those records you need to hear several times in order to clearly appreciate how the different pieces of the sonic jigsaw fit together, at the same time discovering new things with every listen.

“Midnight Section” is the logical continuation of his previous album, which was one of the best of 2010, although it went almost unnoticed at first. It was released on the label that brought us Boards Of Canada, something that also makes sense; there's something of their sound here, too. Listen, for example, to the vibrant “Death Dimension”, with that odd touch of electronic, bucolic folk also present during the first seconds of the title track, very Ghost Box-like. Some people also mention Daft Punk when talking about VHS Head. Although to VHS Head the rhythm is more important - while the French duo are more about melodies - there are some similarities between the two projects conceptually: eighties references and hedonism go hand in hand. There's even a track, “Siege Express”, which sounds pretty close to the harder, better, faster, stronger vein of the French pair.

So, is this “Midnight Section” a cross between horror film soundtracks, Boards of Canada, Daft Punk and EBM? Yes and no. Mostly no, because it's much more than the sum of those parts. It's the ideal music for an illegal rave in some English field after seeing a double feature of B (or Z) movies.

Iván Conte

“Midnight Section”

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