Tape - Rideau
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Tape is a Swedish trio comprised of brothers Andreas and Johan Berthling and Tomas Hallonsten. After releasing two albums (Opera and Milieu) of gentle, pastoral electro-acoustic sounds, they decided to try to change up their writing and recording process slightly in order to see what the result would be. Instead of recording in rural Sweden, the group moved base to Cologne, Germany, where they worked with Markus Schmickler (aka Pluramon).

The overall result of this slight change in writing and recording their album isn't a large one, but it pushes the group in just enough of a different enough direction to make the release sound unlike either of their either releases and make you feel like continuing to follow their movements. "Sunrefrain" opens the release and finds the group mixing subtle organ melodies while found sound recordings scatter random noises. The track builds and releases in ever-louder ways with some electronic blips and electric guitar, eventually letting loose with a wash of noise, horns, guitar, and repetitive organ.

The louder moments in the aforementioned track and the release in general make it clear that Tape are unafraid to be a little louder on this release, and it pays off greatly for them. Their tracks still rely on delicate moments to really make their point, but with louder passages, they're able to accomplish even more in terms of dynamics and shifts. "A Spire" mixes chimes, guitar, electronic processing, and piano over the course of almost twelve minutes and through some instrumental slight of hand, the track doesn't sound repetitive in the slightest. It's easily one of their best tracks to date, and the standout of the album.

After the two long opening tracks, the group tosses in two shorter pieces, and while "Sand Dunes" oozes with warmth and charm, "Exuma" feels far too long at over six minutes, with only shakers and drones wobbling on and on. Fortunately, the group closes things out nicely with another long-form piece in "Long Lost Engine," a tick-tocking organ and guitar (and electronics and effects) track that burns slowly like a melting sunset on a late summer night. Once again, the trio of Tape has proven that sometimes a little is just as good as a lot with Rideau.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2005-11-10 21:24:12