Will Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes has steadily been churning out music on cassette, CD and vinyl en masse over the last 6 years, yet due to the fact that half of its artists are absolutely unknown, it has retained the kind of mystery that usually only surrounds younger platforms. It continues to deliver some of the most exciting experimental technoid underground music out there today, combined with Bankhead's own unique artwork, and it is this secrecy and brilliance that has seduced me into giving TTT some attention with a proper write-up.
Casually referring to the label as 'just for fun' in a interview for Resident Advisor, then calling it 'a labour of love' in the same breath, Will Bankhead seems like a basic down-to-earth music nerd, which shows in how he chooses his releases; from picking up artists through browsing random juke videos on YouTube (Dro Carey, TTT002) to signing an instant classic by living Detroit legend Theo Parrish. The Trilogy Tapes sound floats impulsively from rhodes-y house in one release to synth-noise over footwork for the next, which most other other labels that seem to have the guts to do any more. As Bankhead says himself: "I don't know what the hell they're on about with the BPM thing. As an older person [laughs], I've noticed that people are so obsessed with BPMs these days." I agree: genre and speed should indeed be of no real interest, as a musician or as a record label. Despite the genre diversity, that all the releases on TTT are rooted in "out-there" aesthetics holds the whole thing together.
In all of TTT's massive discography (fifty-two releases now), there isn’t one that I could call boring. I find myself being inspired whenever I hear a TTT release, as they always seem to bring an extra edge to the more conventional, grid-based electronic music. A personal favourite of mine is the recent DJ Spider & Marshallito 'Deadly Structures' EP, which features an excruciatingly pleasant "virus-ridden" techno-house track called C17H21NO2 (that's chemistry talk for the drug krokodil - deadly indeed). A downbeat 4/4 rhythm accompanied by rolling tribal drums, sub-bass sounds and screeching synth lines - and without getting too much into talking about BPM, this one is counting in at a chugging 107.
The release from Theo Parrish was a true soulful fusion house excursion. The track ‘Petey Wheetfeet’ is beautiful - jamming rhodes, slapping basslines, ever phasing hi-hats and Parrish’s trademark off-kilter drunken drums that sneak and bounce around for a solid 5 minutes.
Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup delivered a scorcher of a double 12-inch for the third vinyl release on TTT. The A-side 'Bust A Move' crumbles along with the inimitable Mosse 808/909 hat patterns and dusty synth stabs, rounding off with an Atari breakdown.
And Bankhead has smashed it again with the newest on the label - Minor Science's 'Noble Gas'. The out-there aesthetics of 'Silence' and 'Hapless' pull you in straight away, with syncopated trance-y synth lines and bottom-heavy 808 four-to-the-floor beats. 'Lightfastness' gives an glimpse of the ambient sight of the label. It's a glitchy synth'n’sample collage, reminiscent of alien techno-spacecrafts that make me want to believe.
Read The Trilogy Tapes blog and shop releases and merchandise on their website: http://www.thetrilogytapes.com/
Words: Daniel Bruhn Jensen