Colin Potter – Albums and Rarities Boxset (ICR, October 2015)

Colin Potter is one of the best examples of British tape culture we have: unrelenting, ever-searching and richly transforming over the years. He has that gorgeous tape-in-the-mail sound which is forlorn, lonely, which so delicately oscillates between tender industrial and oblique home-made experimental synth. Some of his early tapes, which he released in a box-set last year – such as mythological blog-circulated The Ghost Office and A Gain – have been the subject of legend. Now, another six-tape series chronicles his late-‘80s and early-‘90s adventures, which are different, more adult, more technically sophisticated but no less alluring.

The set contains Potter’s output from 1989 and 1990 and collections assembled or rare or unreleased material from the same era, which he’s called Are We Nearly There Yet? and, rather aptly, Hiss Story. There’s a more subdued and droney Potter to be found; longer, developing soundscapes, more field recordings, more environment. Less of that early ‘80s bleepiness and clanginess, and more of a certain tenderness and a taste for a sophisticated, composite, textured kind of ambient. Given Potter’s re-emergence with more recent material in his very rhythmic Rank Sonata, as well as his re-surfacing live presence, it’s a good moment to appreciate this home-grown maverick’s back-catalogue.

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