Left with the artifacts of the analog age, the digital revolution now fully commonplace, artists are treating vintage techniques and musical materials as creative colors. Freed from the iron grip of nostalgia or historical accuracy, a record can be simply an ode to the things you love.
That feeling is especially alive and well at Erased Tapes, the London-based record label, an imprint experimental in tastes but sharing a focused philosophy of music making. Certainly, their roster includes plenty of things with “post-” as prefix. There’s post-classical (Nils Frahm), freely mixing classical techniques, and post-digital (enough vintage tape machines and analog signal chains to make gear lovers swoon and faint). But there’s also the finely-detailed digital sound design of Hecq, the obsessive production (and new live analog show) of Rival Consoles. Erased Tapes is a line connecting a community of musicians around craft.
And then there’s the wonderful Greg Gives Peter Space, which we can now share in its entirety before it tours France, England, Holland, and Germany, including our CDM-presented show at Berghain Kantine in Berlin. (America, you get at least one date, too, at Decibel Festival Seattle.) Listen:
This is not only a collaboration; it’s a new hybrid means of making music. It’s delicate and heart-wrenching as a folk album. But call it a folk revival mindful of electronics – folk dub. Fed into springs and analog delays, each line will rumble and wobble through bass earthquakes, then float softly off into space, drifting into higher orbits like a wayward balloon.
As wood plays gentle duets with resistors, so, too, does American Peter Broderick (now in Portland, OR) meld his multi-instrumentalist chops with the English-born composer Greg Haines. This is dub, down to the rhythms, but without any feeling of appropriation; it’s instead plotted through the intersection of folk traditions so thoroughly absorbed as to become second nature, personal and heartfelt. Those sometimes-insistent electronic echoes could easily clash with the beautifully-simple songwriting, but through some miracle, they don’t. The duo maintains an elastic tension between stuttering rhythms and elegant, “don’t I already know this tune?” melody.
A glimpse into the studio where it all happened (click to embiggen):
It’s all over in under twenty-five minutes, but I couldn’t ever listen to it just once. Empty spaces spent outside the shuttlecraft airlock proved to have a breathable atmosphere, full of fuzzy analog tape-hiss air; weird trippy sung intonations always anchored by some clear compositional, emotional direction.
But I do hope it’s all a prelude – this gem of an album, the constellation of other like-minded records happening at the moment. I hope we look back and remember these days when we were first surprised that acoustic and analog instruments would live together, before folk music was always woven in hybrid forms and invented, impromptu instrumentation, half plugged, half-unplugged. That was the moment, we might say, when we finally felt unburdened by history by making the music that felt half-forgotten from our past, half-forgotten from our future.
It’ll be a pleasure to experience it in person, so hope to see you in Berlin or that if you are in neighboring bits of Europe, you can go, too – and for the rest of our planet, let us know what you think of the record.
04.06. LILLE (FR) – Atome Session (House Concert) · on.fb.me/1pLAmKX
05.06. LONDON (UK) – Village Underground · Tickets: bit.ly/1eyLl9B
06.06. NORWICH (UK) – Norwich Arts Centre · Tickets: bit.ly/1nHkRp6
07.06. DORDRECHT (NL) – Urban Explorers Festival · Tickets: bit.ly/1rF6cZm
09.06. BERLIN (DE) – Berghain Kantine · Tickets: bit.ly/1sYgVRT
10.06. LEIPZIG (DE) – Schauspiel · Tickets: bit.ly/1rF6GP6
11.06. HANNOVER (DE) – Feinkostlampe · Tickets: bit.ly/1ko9ihB
28.09. SEATTLE (US) – Erased Tapes x Decibel Festival · Tickets: bit.ly/S8nQdb
That London date Thursday is a busy one, for all our UK-based CDM readers — the boys are live on air via NTS Radio (12-1pm), DJing at Phonica Records (free entry 6-7pm), then do the release concert at Village Underground (7.30-11pm) with support from Bradley Zero.
You can preorder tickets to join us in Berlin if you’re in the neighborhood (why, hello there, Native Instruments and Ableton employees) on Monday. And say hello to us on Facebook:
We’re presenting that event with our friends at two of our other favorite music reads online, Digital in Berlin (which hand-picks events in the oversaturated German capital), and No Fear of Pop (an international music blog).
Previously, with more listening from these lads:
Listen: Greg Gives Peter Space, Intimate Vocals Meet Live, Spacey Sound [CDM Presents]