Not Waving’s Ecstatic label catch Martin Jenkins (Pye Corner Audio) in Head Technician garb for a slippery set of slow, plasmic acid workouts that were originally issued on a super-limited tape, and now sit heavy on wax.
Over the years since he first mooted the PCA sound in 2010, Jenkins has used the Head Technician alter ego as a sort of evil engineer Hyde analogous to his day-to-day Jekyll, a sort of hyperstitious studio partner in a time-honoured tradition of sleeve credits ghost chasing.
Where PCA’s pieces may tend to be lustrous, optimistic, the Head Technician’s Zones LP hems to the shadows of the ‘floor with a furtive, noirish quality that works a treat in the right situations, whether soundtracking gaslamp-lit raves or midnight street patrols seeking out ne’erdowells and laudanum dealers.
Fired on a classic trinity of Roland TR-606 drum machine with an MC-202 (a beast to program, he admits) and TB-303 to sequence his baselines, it clearly makes explicit reference to the early days of Detroit techno and UK bleep ’n bass, but the vibe is more anachronistic, out-of-time, possibly thanks to his patented, lagging basslines and slowly unfolding arrangements, bridging that imaginary, dilated gap between fuzzy dancefloor head melt and curtains-drawn next day gouch out.
As Martin Jenkins explains :
“It’s really satisfying to set up patterns on each machine, let them run and tweak and adjust as the track unfolds. All of these pieces were initially live takes, with just a couple of overdubs and some edits to tighten up the arrangements. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the 202, I can’t get enough of that square wave bass that it does, but it’s such a beast to program.”