The RIchmond Tape Club is a set of four cassettes, although for review purposes I will be doing each tape individually. It’s easier to cover and fairer for the artist. Volume 1 of the series features Negative Gemini, the dark synth/witch house project of Lindsey French. It features four tracks of synth-based textures along with drum machines and pedal-warped vocals.
Each side gets two songs, the longest being track one, “Negative Gemini.” The project itself tends to be rather melancholy, with the synths tuned to a colder, vibrating sound rather than any sort of resonance. The most striking feature of Negative Gemini is French’s vocals; most of the time, on the aforementioned track and also “Eulogy” and “Slit Show,” she uses pedals to give her voice a hushed, ghostly sound, even though she actually has a very pretty voice. The juxtaposition between the two highlights the “witch” part of witch house, but the emphasis on darker synth tones provides a haunting subtext to each track, even when the lyrics are difficult to understand.
On the tape’s final track, “Ghost World,” Negative Gemini branches out for more of an upbeat club mix: pounding bass and cymbal splashes mix with synths played in higher keys. French’s vocals are brighter and more vibrant; she doesn’t drape them in reverb or echo as much, and there’s an uplifting light about the song.
It shows that Negative Gemini can produce both brooding and lighthearted tracks. For the most part, Richmond Tape Club Vol. 1 is ethereal and eerily distant, but it can also be surprisingly beautiful when French decides to lighten things. It’s a great start to the series.