Magnétophone are a new one on me, and justifiably so considering the last time they released a record I was listening to whatever Fat Mike and Fat Wreck Chords threw at me, back in the summer of double-O. Discrepancies in taste aside, my musical palate has refined itself since then and we find the world of electronic music staking it's claim and marking a territory.
When I was working the following year, a colleague of mine told me that in a couple of years time I'd be listening solely to dance music. Well, I'm glad to be able to say ha, told you so Jamie, how dare you call me big-nose; I'm not listening solely to dance music. Although there's a healthy wallop of electronic noise in this year's Top Ten, I think for the most part it'd be tricky to dance to without looking like one of the zombies - sorry, 'infected' - from 28 Days Later in it's transitional stage.
Mind you, Jamie was something along the lines of the fishing-hat wearing, Ibiza-visiting small-town kid dreaming of the bright lights of the big city superclubs, the sort that was still fairly common in 2001 before they turned into Mr Scruff-worshipping, urban electronica-heads within a couple of years. I think Jamie got as far as Bournemouth last time I checked, but I'm not really sure that counts.
But I digress. There's a significant number of acts that might be considered 'electronica' in my countdown - I'm sure there could've been more, I'm already starting to think I missed out in a big way by skipping a Caribou concert - and Magnétophone fall amongst these. Like most of the others, the band are still a band, almost - it's not just a little man with glasses fiddling with wires going into the back of his titanium PowerBook. In this case, it's Matt and John from Brum, another of a long line upholding 4AD's tradition of all things swirly and nice-looking. Magnétophone are no man's laurel-resters though, this is certainly pushing boundaries and challenging the listener: though some of the tracks are certainly very pleasant to listen to, there's a lot going on that the discerning ear can pick up on. Guests on the record include Kim and Kelley Deal, James Yorkston and King Creosote, and there's a multitude of different styles embraced within the album's 39 minutes, running the gamut from drum'n'bass to Southern Gospel and Shields-ian electric guitar.
Fortunately, it's all rather tastefully integrated into a singular body of work, and one that's proficient and beautiful enough to certainly warrant it's number 8 slot.
For your listening pleasure: 'Kel's Vintage Thought', featuring the Deals and Ed Horrox.