The Dictaphone


The Dictaphone Xerox Music (A Tribute to UK DIY Golden Age 78​–83) cassette + zine

A love letter to the late ’70s/early ’80s “it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it” UK DIY renaissance sent on behalf of Jérémie Morin’s DICTAPHONE project, which has spent the last fifteen years or so running roughly parallel to A FRAMES’ robotic, dystopian future clang, the electro/trash garage scuzz of the FEELING OF LOVE, and any number of similar Terminal Boredom fixtures circa 2005–2010. The dozen songs covered here range from dancefloor staples for the trenchcoat-clad (the NORMAL’s “Warm Leatherette”), to noisy, art school dropout hometaper racket (“Don’t Make Another Bass Guitar Mr. Rickenbacker” by DANNY AND THE DRESSMAKERS), to cult classics of bedsit minimal wave (SOLID SPACE’s “Tenth Planet”)—does Xerox Music do much to manipulate its source material into something radically new? Not really, but if your Messthetics CD-Rs have degraded to the point of no return (which is more likely than not), it’s a suitable enough facsimile. A few of the more interesting takes include the sparse and trebly stumble of METROPAK’s “OK Let’s Go” getting a blown-out shitgaze update, trading the wound-up yelps of the original for the sort of monotone echo chamber vocals that BLANK DOGS made bank on, TRONICS’ falling apart primitivist pop anti-anthem “Shark Fucks” being translated in more of a COUNTRY TEASERS fashion (UK DIY a few waves removed), and a relatively faithful spin on the MEKONS-via-TELEVISON PERSONALITIES naivety of the REFLECTIONS’ “Tightrope Walker.” Xerox Music also includes a period-perfect cut-and-paste aesthetic zine, filled with multiple essays in French giving a crash course in the history of UK DIY—I took intro-level French classes in a public Texas high school over twenty years ago, so my actual comprehension of it was spotty at best, but I’m sure there’s plenty of info to be gleaned for those with sharper minds en français.