Review: T.Wiltshire – Selfless Machines


Selfless Machines comes after a year’s long toil for Tender Hooks. Having previously run parties at Corsica studios (think Zip, Sprinkles, Höppner, San Proper and the like) and forming an identity as a label over the course of three EPs it all went quiet. But work was going on in the background.

That year’s long toil has paid off and label torchbearer T.Wiltshire’s debut LP Selfless Machines is about to drop as a 4-track hand-stamped sampler on limited 12” press with a full digital release to follow. With a name that holds its analogue instrumentation to a hefty promise we find that met; the setup surrounding us in a sea of warm, layered, analogue cuts without the gritty heft such instrumentation can sometimes pack. Nestled comfortably between the living room and the floor the LP is full of hard-hitters but doesn’t pack a punch that’ll leave you winded.

#4 (A1 vinyl) features a popping but almost muffled kick, wobbling acidic baseline and rickety hi-hats that set you up for something industrial and crashing yet warm, subtly funky keys leave you at wholly at ease. An industrial reverb, again, sets you up for heft yet the whole composition is so warm and gentle it never towers over. Its an imposing track that leaves you comfortable.

#1 (A2 vinyl) starts with long-decaying, oscillatory hi-hats and a warm, almost Midtown 120 Blues-esque loop, accompanied by gentle clacking percussion and a warm Detroit-like baseline. No one element imposes and everything works in sync with a spacey, wobbling synth giving the track an overall dreamy feel. Each fundamental element kicks, but all together it’s another recliner with a slow and forgiving fade-out.

#6 (B1 vinyl) starts cosmic, with a reverbing analogue loop laying down the fundamental rhythm of the track. An underlying kick, gentle percussion and a subtle baseline lead before the track takes a much more acidic route, cycling through an oscillatory acid loop of changing heft. Again, gentility remains at the centre of this one and a euphoric synth slowly builds and carries us through. There’s a build-up, almost revelatory, but again you’re hit with all the weight a feather as the track eases into a nice percussive finish.

#7 (B2 vinyl) gets playful. A steady, upbeat start with heavenly keys moves into an almost salsa-like rhythm. An interspersed almost drumcode-like rumbling reverb pushes before descending an explosion of organs and claps fluttering from what feels like above. It sounds like a lot, but all elements play together, steadily weaving in and out of each other frivolously, at ease with one another for the remainder of the track. It’s an absolute tease and, as with the other three, would hit hard on the floor as easily as it would guide kindly on the chaise lounge.

Selfless Machines is mechanical, ordered and mathematical.  Yet where so many other analogue compositions simply grind and crunch, T.Wiltshire gifts us warm layered atmospheres, meandering synth motifs and dusty drum patterns. This is one to catch.

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