Helena Hauff – A Tape (Dark Entries)


Recording all of her tracks using strictly analogue equpment, Hamburg-based DJ / electronic producer and former Golden Pudel resident Helena Hauff draws equal influence from acid house, techno and more EBM-centred sounds, and in the four years since she emerged on Werk Discs with her debut 2013 EP ‘Actio Reactio’, she’s already amassed an impressive discography. While Hauff last left us with her debut 2015 album on Ninja Tune / Werk Discs ‘Discreet Desires’, this latest release sees Dark Entries releasing her previously cassette-only 2015 compilation ‘A Tape’ on vinyl for the first time, a collection of her early tracks recorded during the years spanning 2011-2014.

While Hauff apparently views the twelve tracks assembled here primarily as forgotten sketches left on the cutting room floor, what particularly impresses here is the cohesiveness of this collection as a complete listen – if these are what she considers throwaways, they’re often more interesting than what constitutes a lot of people’s debut albums. ‘c45p’ kicks this collection off in moody Italo-house centred territory as brightly glittering arpeggios wind themselves around dark distorted bass pads and spidery 808 snares, the doomy atmospheres that power beneath the sheeny melodic sequences calling to mind Arnaud Rebotini’s similarly EBM-laced grooves.

‘btdr1123′ meanwhile goes for a more subliminal and minimalist feel, sending a 303 bassline worming into way between ticking snares and flurries of delayed-out handclaps as snakelike filtered melodic synth riffs add a sense of eerie intrigue, the cycling notes increasing in speed as the tribal kickdrums gather momentum and ballast, before the aptly titled ’29acid3’ sees the acidic 303 squiggles taking the foreground as metallic sequences tumble away in the background against brittle-sounding shuffling techno rhythms that almost sound like they’re going to fall apart at any moment.

While there’s a strong focus upon 4/4 dancefloor rhythms here though, it’s the more unexpected interludes here that often provide some of the biggest highlights. ‘ff297-3’ offers up a curious wander through fluttering handclap and tom programming that sees a juddering bassline seemingly battling the electronic percussion for space as zapping effects flit back and forth, while elsewhere ‘yyh’ could almost pass for a John Carpenter synth score or retro giallo soundtrack as icy melodic notes hang ominously against unsettling wavering background drones and chaotically pitchshifted samples – indeed, it’s just begging for a slasher movie to drape itself over. Throw a classy remastering job into the bargain, and you’re left with another excellent vinyl reissue from Dark Entries.


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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands