ATA Records

The Magnificent Tape Band - The Subtle Art of Distraction (LP)

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The Magnificent Tape Band are the alter egos of ATA Records founders Neil Innes & Pete Williams, who were the creative driving force behind the debut album by The Sorcerers, for which they wrote and produced all the tracks as well as contributing bass and guitar performances. Sheffield born, Rachel Modest developed her unique vocal ability within the churches and gospel choirs of her local community. Now based in Leeds she has developed a powerful and soulful vocal style that takes inspiration from artists such as Madeleine Bell, Dee Dee Warwick, Dusty Springfield and at times delivers a performance that resembles the falsetto of The Delfonics William Hart. 

Taking inspiration from the more abstract end of the soul spectrum that has been a richly tapped vein for hip-hop producers, The Magnificent tape band aim to create an evocative tapestry of sound that pulls together psychedelic soul with British library music to create a distinctly dramatic sounding record. Recorded on original '60s equipment, using vintage instruments ,"The Subtle Art Of Distraction" immediately brings to mind the more experimental psychedelic soul records of the late 60s/early seventies by incorporating driving clavinet, loping drums and swirling organ and Mellotron alongside Rachel Modest's ethereal vocals. 

Recorded in a disused garage on the outskirts of Leeds, "The Subtle Art Of Distraction" uses an array of vintage equipment to create a dark musical landscape that underpins Rachel Modests powerful vocal delivery. Opener "Let The Church Say" begins with a simple organ riff that unfolds menacingly, while Rachel sings of her experience growing up in a deeply religious community before funereal New Orleans horns build it to it's dramatic conclusion. Organ, Clavinet and Bass Clarinet provide the ominous riff for "Danger "before giving way to the acoustic guitars, sublime backing vocals and mellotron flutes of the Bowie and Gainsbourg inspired "When I Saw Your Face". Clavinet and Organ reappear alongside fuzz guitar in "Requiem" propelled by insistent plectrum bass and drums that provides some Delfonics-esque drama to the end of side A. 

"Heading Towards Catastrophe" presents an array of eerie percussion, harp and organ that provides an atmospheric backdrop for the portentous rhythmic groove as Rachels vocals warn of the pitfalls of political apathy. Mellotron strings and Joost Hendrickx's laconic drum groove take centre stage in "Not That Kind Of Woman" as Rachels vocals gradually build and develop towards the songs climax. In "Black Tiger" Rachel explores the concept of a spiritual guide that appears in the form of a Black Tiger while 12-string guitar, backbeat guitar and Lalo Schiffrin-esque horns drive the song to it's conclusion. The album closes with "Pantomime", a laidback soul-infused piece remenicient of Allen toussaint or Dr John that. 

Let The church Say

Danger

When I Saw You

Requiem

Heading Towards Catastrophe

Not That Kind Of Woman

Black Tiger

Pantomime