3 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Paul Blackford
Betamax: the 80s video format that lost out to VHS, that has subsequently become something of a punchline. Paul Blackford’s album of the same name isn’t trying to tap in to that kitschiness, necessarily, but track names like Neon Shores and The NASA Beat are certainly suggestive of the era, as-is the easy glowing techno glitter that’s dusted across this twelve track release.
‘Betamax’ flirts with the hip-hop backbone that’s run through a lot of Paul’s work, particularly at the start and end of the album. But even when things kick off with some funkiness of that nature, the focus is much more on 80s / 90s dancefloor chill, the relatively brief 3-4 minute runtimes giving the whole affair a breezy, easy-going nature. And although that prevents the set from picking up much steam, it’s an absolutely pleasant affair, with sharp synth interludes keeping each track churning atop their floating rhythms, occasional reminders of the aforementioned groove poking their head above the surface here and there. It’s a fun set, striking a balance between free-flow and control, never stepping outside the borders within which Paul is working, but making sure to keep things moving within those same lines. While this ultimately means there’s no real standout moments, having a solid set of good times to spin makes it an easy re-play.