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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 148 - 10/14/08

The Music Tapes
Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes
Merge Records

I can't imagine there's been nine years since the last album by The Music Tapes, the hilarious debut album The First Imaginary Symphony For Nomad. Firstly I must admit it's good to see the Elephant 6 logo appear on a record label again. Secondly it's funny to get presented to the crazy pop (up) world of Julian Koster. And, finally, it's also fun to see that most of the E6 players (buddies from Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, of Montreal, Marshmallow Coast, and more) appear as good helpers and steady contributors. As always here's wild instrumentation and unorthodox ideas, regarding composing songs as well as recording them.

Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes shows Koster's skills with his 'singing saw', the banjo, and a multitude of instruments. A theme this time seems to be wintertime and xmas, because of the reindeers, snow and the ice palace. This time he's been taking more modern recording technique in use: a 1930's wire recorder, a 1950's Ampex whole track recorder and a 1960's Ampex 4-track. Last time around he claimed to have used an 1897 Edison wax cylinder recorder, plus a 1940's Wire recorder... Anyway, here's rhythmic mystic brought to you by "The 7 Foot Tall Metronome" and "The Clapping Hands", and songs with an aura of and the moods towards what in my mind brings pictures of carnivals, circus' and such. Then there's Julian's distinctive baritone vocal, which quite clearly is a link to the fantastic Neutral Milk Hotel - legends of our time. Oh, how I miss them. Because, even though The Music Tapes' recordings are fascinating stuff to listen to, the songs are way too loose and abstract. Making this album a too far out album for its own good. I think I prefer the warm craziness of their first album before this one. Even though I'll probably pick up Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes for some spooky carnival lazy action show when needed.

PS! AS always you should go for vinyl when it comes to The Music Tapes. This so that you'll get all the cool pop-up and cut-out art included.

Copyright © 2008 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Music Tapes articles/reviews: Mary's Voice, The First Imaginary Symphony For Nomad.

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