It’s been a lean few years for new artists in electronic music. Aside from dubstep, which went down the shitter pretty quickly, there hasn’t been much to get excited about. The IDM glory days are long gone.
But one artist definitely bucking the trend is VHS Head. Emerging seemingly from nowhere in 2009, he has been injecting some fresh air into electronic music ever since.
Using old VHS cassettes as source material, VHS Head’s music evokes dodgy video nasties, bombastic idents, cheesy synth music and clunky computerisation. With these samples, a complex collage is built in a way that will please fans of IDM and glitch.
This music inhabits similar territory to the hauntology scene spearheaded by the Ghost Box record label. It creates a similar fantasy sound out of familiar sources — a world that almost, but didn’t quite happen. But while the Ghost Box looks chiefly to programmes for schools, public information films, library music, and other mid-20th century influences, VHS Head turns to the brasher world of the 1980s.
VHS Head is now one of my favourite artists at the moment. Uncompromising and unafraid to push sonic boundaries, it is exactly what has been lacking from so much electronic music recently.
Here is one of the highlights of his album Trademark Ribbons of Gold. This track is called Remote Control. This is a fan video that I think reflects VHS Head’s music perfectly. But remember to rewind the video after you have watched it.