There’s something incredibly comforting about UK artist Martin Jenkins, aka Pye Corner Audio’s unique brand of retro futurism. There’s a real warmth to his analogue synth fetish that conjures up something between 70’s sci fi film music and the narcotic edge of the dancefloor. Everything is tightly controlled, pieces develop sequentially as each elements reveal happens at the exact perfect moment in time. The edges are smooth, there is nothing to lull you out of a hypnotic reverie, nothing is left to chance.
It’s difficult not to admire this kind of control, this attention to detail. Ridiculously prolific he has released albums, EP’s and singles in all kind of limited edition configurations on various labels across the world and there’s a certain degree of trainspotting involved in working through his various monikers and labels. Entangled Routes is the third in a loose trilogy that he has completed for Ghost Box starting with Stasis in 2016 and followed by Hollow Earth in 2019. Not surprisingly its based around science fiction, but to be honest its not the concept that draws you in, it’s the melodic sequences, the fetishistic reverence for the timbre of the analogue synthesizer and these deep warm melancholic grooves.
If anything Entangled Routes feels a little more upbeat than its predecessors, with a greater diversity of approaches between the tracks. But I might just be imagining it. His music is so immediately identifiable. When you see a Pye Corner Audio album you know exactly what you are going to get. What’s so fascinating is how within this realm he continues to find ways to make such compelling essential music. It’s like he’s done all the hard work in initially creating this world/ genre and now he gets to play around in it. Entangled Routes reveals a real mastery of the form, but we kind’ve expected that, between its wistful throbing sci fi grooves, his offering earlier in the year of Black Mill Tapes Volume 5: The Lost Tapes, and his more freeform, less beat orientated album under the moniker The House in the Woods, it’s been a pretty good year for Jenkins – and I’m probably missing about 7 other releases.