Videotrage is a Finnish Duo and this is debut album, released after one EP. I haven't heard that one, but this particular tape is somewhere between minimalistic power electronics-noise and spacy electronic music, as well as sound collage and what-not, all of which flows through a strong retro-filter.
The four minutes long opening tune actually lives up to its name; it sounds like browsing through different radio frequencies from the past, with the different samples overlapping with each other in a surprising but peaceful way. These samples have a bit of covering from vintage modular synths that are the main element of the second tune the thirteen-minuter "Timewarp." The synths create a dense but very soft and slow wave with just a bit of a sharp and noisy edge, which flows forward with little disturbance for a few minutes until it's replaced with some cruder synth notes with a similarly worn sound. There's some analogue grit in the background and the notes have an improvisation-like nature to slowly drift towards greater noisiness, but overall the track sounds moreso alien than dangerous in any way. The synths mutate into a looping, delay-reliant pattern which brought images of really old sci-fi movies to my mind. The track sounds interesting and its slow mutation process keeps the listener on his/her toes for the whole time, despite the calm pace.
The songs are fittingly titled, for sure; the five minutes long track A3 is based on a Finnish lecture about thermal weapons, with some bubbling and soft screeches added on top of it. It might not sound like much on paper, but the lecturer's low, monotonal voice and the simple effects make the tune pretty enjoyable and interesting piece, and a good, calm closer for the A-side.
Side B has just one lenghty track (around 18 minutes long) about allegiance to the higher order and its leaders, for the common good. This one is the most versatile and seemingly planned one, and has the most instruments as well. Aside of the calm modular synths creating a field of sound in the beginning, it has some monotonal speaking and even a bit of a percussion beat to give the track a nice start, and to prevent the listener from being incapacitated. There's even a modulated voice speaking about the song's theme, and this voice is the most cliché element on the whole album - it doesn't stop it from suiting the album perfectly, though, and at least I found it to fittingly deepen the sci-fi mood. The song progresses from calm and thought-out waving to more rhythmic type of music, to some faster, louder, more improvised and almost hypnotizing direction, ending up sounding like a soundtrack for brainwashing. It took me a while to get fully adjusted to this song, but after a few try-outs I was sucked into its world.
Aside of some fumbling and slightly overdone improvisation (or moreso lack of direction) on the A-side, this tape is warmly recommended for those who enjoy vintage modular synths or retro sci-fi-soundscapes with a bold attitude. "Allegiance" shows that the band has some ideas and tricks that they didn't really reveal on the three previous tunes, so I'll eagerly be waiting to see what the duo comes up with next - while hoping that they manage to knit their mixture of sound collages and such experiments a wee bit tighter (but still naturally) together with the more controlled and composed moments. An extra thumbs-up is awarded for the minimalistic but nonetheless plain splendid artwork.