Magnetophone, one of 4AD's latest signings after the departure of label chief Ivo Watts-Russell, specialize in a low-key brand of sonic noodling. Their first full album, I GUESS SOMETIMES I NEED TO BE REMINDED OF HOW MUCH YOU LOVE ME, is a unique achievement, but one that certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone.
Eschewing traditional instruments in favour of all manner of old electronic equipment, Magnetophone produce a fuzzy, vocal-less noise pop that seeks to answer the question "What is music?" While many of the songs here are unlistenable, other tracks such as "Oh Darlin'" and "Milk of the Commander" capture the listener's attention well. The album is all the more enjoyable to long-time 4AD fans because some of the tracks, especially "Frankenholmes Drive," evoke memories of the "Early Works" of Warren Defever (His Name is Alive).
I GUESS... is not for everyone. In fact, I suspect a lot of people will despair of 4AD because of it, but I'm glad to see a release this original. The album is all the more enjoyable because of the remarkable design by v23, which uses an envelope instead of a booklet in the CD case and whose back insert is only half-size.