Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Can't remember if it was purposeful or by accident - as it happens sometimes when our heads aren't screwed on properly at the end of a long day in the studio - but the three kind Swedes in the instrumental band Tape didn't even record a Welcome To Daytrotter tag. What this means is that, no where in this session will you hear a voice - one of their voices, at least - just yours gasping a little bit. It will reach back into your mouth, tumble down your throat and into the chest or belly, where it can just feel taken aback in more of a confined and safe place. It's easier to work through all of the sinewy and swimming sounds that these three men make talk, when you can back up some and just stand there slack-jawed. Even without a single voice or hint of a voice, there's much communication happening inside Tape songs, as they stroll and casually smoke toward us, like a dapper old man in a trench coat, out for a walk on a drizzly night, with the streets and sidewalks empty, just pecking with hard-soled shoes on the ground. It's as if - in the night air here - there's a serious and overwhelming desire to disappear, to just go missing, off and into these sounds, perhaps never to return. There are the delicate piano notes, the jazzy drums - when they want to be jazzy. There are the psychedelic guitar runs that turn into feathery accents and there are the spooky western/ghost town winds hissing through the lands, catching themselves on the edges and contours of objects, bending their notes and sounds into a contorted symphony of living beings of one kind or another. Tape makes music that feels absolutely like it was either made by people, really caring and attentive people, or by no one at all, just things acting spontaneously, as if we were imagining all of the furniture and stuff in our den at home coming alive, late at night, when we are out of town, and finding ways to play the kind of melodies that will help put them to sleep. They don't have the television to provide the white noise and static that they're used to nodding off to on these occasions so they start humming to themselves and the humming evolves into thrumming and a purring and a whirring that circles back around and into music that sounds like distant trains calling and tea kettles announcing their temperature. It sounds like the groans of old and covered up floor boards, the way the roof talks when it thinks that no one but the attic's listening. These are the natural makers of Tape songs and people have nothing to do with it. There will be no voices, not here, not ever.