In the true dichotomy that is the tape release world, we've been trawling the digital world to search out some of the finest tape releases for your ears. Despite a fair degree of searching it feels like we are only just touching the surface of the DIY tape world. Presented here is a small selection of some of those releases that have caught our ears, made us hit the buy button and demanded a further listen. We hope you enjoy them too. (This was originally published over at Igloo Magazine.)
Atelier / Ferme :: Poirier Marshall Partners (Kit Records)
A spellbinding collage of vintage synths, minimal electronics, trumpet, guitar and saxophone. Recorded in Strasbourgh, Brussels and Sainte Marie Aux Mines these, often live, jams effortlessly match lounge with subdued electronica. Things commence in a kind of playful minimal zone, with joyous tricky to pin down results - it sounds at times like the soundtrack to an obscure children's TV show from the '70s, at others like ISAN through a loungecore kaleidoscope. The 'Ferme' B side of the release is rightly 'recommended to fans of To Roccoco Rot and Heurco S' and finds abstract dusty beauty delicately placed around subtle percussion. A top recommendation!
Cataclysmic Variable Star :: Intergalactic Debris (Nebula Collection)
'Dreams of the endless Universe' states the bandcamp page of this Dutch label and we couldn't agree more. There's plenty of ambient space music out there but this is firmly on the side of stuff done well. The first track alone is worth the entry price - an epic 20 minute voyage through the universe with bubbling arps scattered weightless across epic choir drones, shifting through to Eno-esque glassy pads and gentle tumbling melodies. The following three tracks are great too, combining slowly evolving drones with broad, warm pads and a touch of 4/4 drama as we enter the Ergosphere....
In a Garden :: Valotihkuu (Self Release)
There is much to enjoy from this Russian producer's bandcamp page. Enough for me to dig in and purchase his whole back catalog - well worth it given the price on offer too. This particular release is an especial gem and finds soaring strings, tape bent acoustic guitar and birdsong evoking hazy memories of bokeh dappled summer gardens. Valotihkuu is no shirker of heartbreaking melodies which are deployed liberally throughout creating a glorious life affirming listen.
Athnology :: NOL (Self Release)
Strangely beguiling electroid gibber glitch from Scotland's NOL. The focus here is on the IDM manic rather than relaxed yet despite its arrhythmic nature a meditative air of amusement hangs across it all. Snatches of guitar and audio oddities beat out obscure patterns across 'Myad' and there's even a showdown of pig grunts in 'Pigg'. Later we find 'Lode-Tec' exploring excellent early Autechre ethos with hints of pointillist footwork production and breakcore thrown in for good measure. 'Axion' is a joyous assemblage of xx melody whilst 'Emprlec' goes into full algo-scatter drum territory.
Polypores :: Wastes (Self Release)
Spooked synth explorations from UK based Polypores. Just two tracks here - inhabiting that ace Pye Corner Audio space of wonked melodic vintage gear hauntology. Much of Polypores' bandcamp is also well worth checking - in particular 'Timehole', an ace selection of ethereal ambient tracks recorded live to a Tascam 4 track tape deck.
Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet :: Hafvet (Low Point)
Finally a beautiful third release from Swedish duo Linus Schrab and Johan Fotmeijer. Here we find studies in gently undulating processed field recordings, modular synths and guitar. These four long form tracks ebb and flow in slow motion, hanging about for over 10 minutes apiece and slowly enveloping the atmosphere around you.