Welsh DJ / electronic producer Guy Evans has been active amongst Cardiff’s dance music scene since the early nineties, but while he’s consistently recorded tracks over the last three decades, it’s been only during the last few years that they’ve finally seen a release. Two years on from his preceding ‘Structures & Rhythms ’94-’99’ album, this latest collection on the new Exotic Robotics label ‘Archived Tapes 1993-2017’ sees Evans once again trawling through his vaults, with most of the music here apparently being rescued and remastered from a forgotten bag of cassettes in an attic in Wales.
As with Evans’ previous excavations of his backcatalogue, the eleven tracks collected here represent a diverse grab-bag of styles, ranging from jazzy beats / hiphop through to acid techno, IDM and ambient. While a lot of the music here invariably dates immediately to a previous era, it’s impressive just how well a lot of it stands up against more contemporary sounds.
‘Jan1996 X3R R100 Side B _88_ – Trk 4’ kicks proceedings off with a wander through chunky MPC-triggered hiphop beats that sees female soul vocals being delayed and flanged out into rippling echos against rich string pads, the resulting fusion calling to mind Mo’ Wax or the Cup Of Tea label’s blunted Bristolian beats. ‘Thats CDIIF Mixes 97 Side A – Trk 5’ takes up the smooth hiphop baton and runs with it, sending a programmed swing beat rolling against deep bass grooves, rich jazzy horns and piano keys in an offering that’s more reminiscent of the likes of The Beatmasters or Soul II Soul.
Elsewhere, ‘White CBS Special Tape Fixed’ meanwhile traces a far closer kinship to Warp’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’ compilation, traces of B12 and The Black Dog rearing their heads amidst the tumbling acid-house rhythms and smeared-out synth pads, before ’07 Seq 2014 Oct 2nd’ ventures out into cold sparse electro as breakbeats snap against icy analogue arpeggios and eerie minor-key synths, traces of growling 303s and fragmented ragga vocal samples lurking at the edges. While there’s an inescapable nostalgia factor at work here, it’s remarkable just how well a lot of the tracks here stand up today – an indication of just how well they were made in the first place.