Pye Corner Audio

Hollow Earth

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Conceived as a sequel to 2016's Stasis -- which itself was a sequel to 2012's Sleep Games -- Hollow Earth continues Martin Jenkins' trend of honing his Ghost Box releases without sacrificing any of Pye Corner Audio's evocative power. At over an hour long, the album allows him to give equal time to the most kinetic and abstract sides of his music. Jenkins delivers a little of each on the album's title track: Glimmering chords soon give way to a four-on-the-floor beat and choral vocals that serve as a beguiling prologue for the rest of Hollow Earth's excursions. Jenkins' music remains as vivid and distinctive as it was during the Black Mill Tapes days, and he provides glimpses of an adventure as he conjures narrow passages, vast caverns, and mazes in this subterranean playground. "Claustrophobe" crawls along on growling, low-to-the-ground synths; a soaring, distant melody draws listeners deeper into "The Seventh Labyrinth;" and "Dancing Shadows"' woody percussion and flickering tones live up to the track's name perfectly. Elsewhere, Hollow Earth proves that Jenkins' balance of beat-driven tracks and experimental ones grows increasingly deft. "Mindshaft"'s house-tinged rhythms and busy arpeggios are feverish but never frantic, while the insistently loping beat that propels "Core Sample" finds the sweet spot between driving and hypnotic. On its quieter moments, Hollow Earth combines the mysterious feel of the hauntology that emerged in the late 2000s and early 2010s with the pulsing synthwave that crested in popularity a few years later. Alongside the stark, ominous textures of "Quad Tape Substrate," "Buried Memories" bridges the past and future of electronic music with style, and "Deeper Dreaming"'s evocation of vintage library music underscores why Ghost Box is such a perfect fit for Pye Corner Audio's music. On Hollow Earth, Jenkins lets the different sides of his music surface and recede in organic ways that make it equally entrancing for the mind and body.

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