Tape – Luminarium (Immune) LP
Tape is a Swedish post-rock trio featuring veteran “glitch” electronica artist Andreas Berthling. Luminarium is the band’s most recent album and also its best. Originally released on CD in 2008, it has subsequently been issued in a handsome vinyl edition by Chicago’s Immune label.
It’s easy to regard Tape as being a European equivalent of Brooklyn duo Mountains. Both Tape and Mountains run very dependable experimental music labels (Hapna and Apestaatrje, respectively) and both mix highly melodic live playing with grainy, glitchy electronic textures.
Recently, it has started to seem like the Swedish trio has been living in the shadow of its US equivalent. This year, Mountains released an album (Choral) on the relatively high-profile Thrill Jockey label, garnering noticeably more attention than just about any other record to have emerged from the post-Fennesz electronic underground.
However, while those flashy Americans have been conspicuously collecting plaudits, the subtle Swedes have been gaining both artistic and commercial momentum. Consequently, Luminarium appeared on a really quite surprising number of blogs’ 2008 top tens.
Really, it’s no wonder. Luminarium opens with the timeless melodic loveliness of “Beams”, moves un-fussily onto the equally lovely “Moth Wings” and steadfastly refuses to flag from thereon in. The Tape boys know how to leave just enough space between the notes. They also know how to add just enough ugliness and grit to their compositions to prevent these marvellous tunes from becoming mere decorative fluff.
Luminarium will work its way into your affections gradually. It’s not a needy album. It’s humble but confident and very very giving. Let Luminarium light up your life. Buy a copy from from Forced Exposure.