Most Valuable Play: Camp Counselors

Kyle Reigle explores Memory Tapes’ ‘Grace/Confusion;’ a record that heavily influenced the creation of his latest album, ‘Huntress.’


MVP features artists and their favorite albums.

In this edition, Kyle Reigle of the Buffalo-based project Camp Counselors explores Memory TapesGrace/Confusion; a record that heavily influenced the creation of his latest album, Huntress.

Choosing only one album to talk about was incredibly challenging for me since I’m that annoying person who claims a different favorite record every other day. I was asked to write this feature as Camp Counselors and not Cemeteries (my other music outlet) so I decided to narrow it down to an album that truly inspired that project. After contemplating and ultimately passing on every film score John Carpenter has created, I decided to choose the record that made me want to make Huntress in the first place; Grace/Confusion by Memory Tapes.

In 2009, Memory Tapes aka Dayve Hawk released Seek Magic which completely caught my attention. Another album and a few Halloween tracks/mini-mixes later, I was a little obsessed. His brilliant third album, Grace/Confusion, was announced and released late last year and received almost no attention or publicity, and while normally I’d be hurt that such a brilliant record was criminally overlooked, I’m sort of selfish so I wanted the album all for myself. This is my chance to pay it forward after being so greedy.

I avoided every single that preceded the release and even avoided the album itself for a few days once it was out because I wanted my first experience to be memorable. I live in Medina, NY (right between Buffalo and Rochester) and our winters are usually pretty bad but luckily, we had a few beautiful days early last December so one morning, after my Thanksgiving food/wine coma faded, I decided to take the album for a country drive through the back roads.

It immediately hit me on some great level. I feel like that sounds a bit dramatic but at only six somewhat lengthy tracks, the album felt surprisingly flawless and still does every time I visit it. From the sampled female “ooh”s and “ah”s scattered throughout to the eerily droned intro of “Let Me Be” (I’m obviously a chump for any and everything creepy), the album had me. I don’t mean to gush but I suppose that’s what this feature is all about.

I’ve always been fussy with electronic music. It usually leaves me feeling a bit cold and empty but with Grace/Confusion, Hawk utilizes looped field recordings that give his synthesizers and samples an incredible organic texture. That mixed with gorgeous guitar lines and pulsing percussion results in something sincerely lush. He had dabbled with the same formula on previous albums but it never felt so natural and carefree. Each song is lengthy enough to reach a high point and then completely push it, almost always ending in some epic conclusion. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped a few times during that first winter listen.

While the album struck me on first listen, it’s one of the few records that still resonates with me to this day. I use up a lot of space on my phone so I keep minimal music stored on it but Grace/Confusion has been there since it came out. It’s my go-to when I can’t decide what to listen to and I get intensely enthusiastic when I suggest it to friends who haven’t heard it before.

I had been wanting to dive into making electronic music for awhile and I tampered with a few things here and there, but Memory Tapes proved that what I wanted to accomplish could totally be accomplished. I probably wouldn’t have made Huntress or at least it wouldn’t have been the same without his influence. I love a lot of music and I’m sure I love a few albums more than Grace/Confusion but it was a rare case of “right album at the right time” for me and it will always be very, very close to my heart.

Camp Counselors’ latest album, Huntress, can be digitally downloaded via his Bandcamp page.

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