8 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As Special Request, Paul Woolford is best known for club cuts that dance teasingly in the space between retro and futurism. But the material on 2019’s Bedroom Tapes is a world away from the alien breakbeat rave of Vortex, released just a month before. Per the title, the album is sourced from a box of old cassettes that Woolford unearthed while moving. Yet nothing here sounds like juvenilia. He’s clearly in thrall to Aphex Twin: Crisply overdriven drum machines and plangent synth leads have the same punchy presence as the IDM overlord’s mid-’90s music at its most anthemic. A few tracks, like “Phosphorescence,” hint at the big-room piano house that would become a key element of Woolford’s style. But the music is so assured—the synths immaculately programmed, the drums big and beefy, the arrangements efficient—that the claim that these are youthful demos almost defies belief. It hardly matters: This is nothing short of an essential addition to Woolford’s catalog.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As Special Request, Paul Woolford is best known for club cuts that dance teasingly in the space between retro and futurism. But the material on 2019’s Bedroom Tapes is a world away from the alien breakbeat rave of Vortex, released just a month before. Per the title, the album is sourced from a box of old cassettes that Woolford unearthed while moving. Yet nothing here sounds like juvenilia. He’s clearly in thrall to Aphex Twin: Crisply overdriven drum machines and plangent synth leads have the same punchy presence as the IDM overlord’s mid-’90s music at its most anthemic. A few tracks, like “Phosphorescence,” hint at the big-room piano house that would become a key element of Woolford’s style. But the music is so assured—the synths immaculately programmed, the drums big and beefy, the arrangements efficient—that the claim that these are youthful demos almost defies belief. It hardly matters: This is nothing short of an essential addition to Woolford’s catalog.

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