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Matt Saunders and John Hanson founded Birmingham, England's Magnetophone in 1999 out of a mutual love for old synthesizers and weird sounds. Before long, the duo had solidified a sound that falls somewhere between the abstract beats of Autechre and Acceleradeck, the quieter industrial moments of Throbbing Gristle, and the droning, drugged-out synths of Spacemen 3. After some vinyl-only singles for independent labels Static Caravan and Earworm, the group ended up at 4AD for their debut full-length, i guess sometimes i need to be reminded of how much you love me.

"Oh darlin'," from the aforementioned album, is not in fact a Beatles cover, but an investigation of the properties of negative sound space -- in other words, a seamless ambient piece intercalated by moments of silence. The song is a great example of Magnetophone's mastery of a difficult skill -- making songs that are both beautiful and challenging. The listener can expect to be lulled, then poked, then drugged, then prodded, and so on, until his or her brain relaxes into a welcome state of fuzziness.