Inner Systems, the excellent debut album by Prequel Tapes, is haunted by distorted memories of the early rave scene and industrial culture. The Berlin-based artist partly composed the album out of samples from a new wave/industrial band he was a member of during the late '80s and early '90s. Instead of trying to faithfully re-create the sounds of that era, he harnesses its creative spirit, channeling industrial angst while alluding to rave's euphoric rush but not letting itself get swept away. The album isn't devoid of rhythm, but the beats serve to amp up the tension rather than ignite a dancefloor, feeling like a nervous pulse even at their busiest and most intense. The tracks typically feature scorched, bristling distorted textures, occasionally calming down and dropping in traces of half-remembered rave melodies. Inner Systems recalls a wide range of feelings surrounding the club experience, from being shut out of a club in the rain to a hazy 4 a.m. comedown in the back of a stranger's truck. There have been plenty of artful deconstructions of various eras of club culture, including albums and conceptual projects by Lee Gamble, V/Vm, and Lorenzo Senni, but Inner Systems often feels more direct than many of those works, and it seems a bit less reliant on nostalgia, sounding fresh, bold, and futuristic. ~ Paul Simpson
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