Memory Tapes : Player Piano

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Memory Tapes : Player Piano


That annoyingly vague genre label ‘chillwave’ may be all the rage at the moment, but just barely ahead of the curve before the whole scene crested was one New Jersey-based Dayve Hawk, who unwittingly found himself at the centre of a zeitgeist with 2009’s Seek Magic. Its modest eight tracks struck the tricky balance between the homespun charm of the bedroom arranger with the polish of deftly produced electronica, not least in the subtle Madchester vibe of minor summer hit Bicycle.

So where does one find Hawk two years later with his inevitable ‘difficult second album?’ Well, with a fully-fledged live band for one. Which in turn has broadened the scope of his arrangements and the ‘one-man band’ tag, it would be harder to anchor the guitar workouts demonstrated on Today Is Our Life or the perky pop band hum of Sunhits to the confines of the bedroom. Yet, for the most part, it retains the same warm, hazy charisma that cemented Memory Tapes’ popularity. If Toro Y Moi or the shimmering Washed Out are the blissed-out comedown, then Player Piano is the sunny high that precedes it.

Already hard at work on a third LP, Hawk is either keen to shake loose any sagging tags – chillwave or otherwise – or a restlessly creative spirit. On the strength of Player Piano, it would suggest the answer is both.

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