The last Tape record, Luminarium, ended up being an album that I put on in those strange moments when I wanted to listen to music but could think of no music that I wanted to listen to. Maybe that whole state was symptomatic of some ailing being undergone; maybe that music was balm and medication, something to take the edge off and set me back to balance. It’s possible. Tape’s music certainly has a feeling of balance, of limbs laid adroitly in the air, of organs gracefully and vibrantly spaced. This is even truer of Revalationes, a brief record of brief records, records of small moments of quiet beauty, sounds brought together in humble, resonant formations.
If you put enough lines on a piece of paper you start to see something recognizable, even if that is merely a something produced by your imagination. Tape’s music is sometimes like lines on a piece of paper, connecting, separated, departing from one another. It is as remarkable for the space between things as for the things that are there within the space and that make the new spaces between themselves. Space between notes and space between instruments make for a space not of action so much as of a slow, revolving and unraveling stasis.
This is instrumental music without ostentation, without massive rises and falls, music that bores into a mood and explodes it in slow motion so that it expands outward at a snail’s pace until it’s all around the listener. There is a distinctive palette at work, a series of sounds arranged in various small constellations, appearing and then reappearing in different contexts, under the sway of different emotional tones. Revalationes is plaintive but not quite earnest, drugged by enough whimsy to keep its meditations unbounded by any bare, primary sentiment.
Is there a story in this music? Part of me wants to say yes, but more remarkable is the way in its slow turnings it resists being cast as anything that would fit a scripted scenario. “Byhalia” and its slow droning pulse, its dour piano, is not the soundtrack to a solemn event but itself a solemn event with tentacles stretched into our own minds. “Gone Gone” is not accompaniment to the past becoming more remote but the past becoming, with a touch of sorrow and a spine of resoluteness, more remote.
Revalationes will sound as great in 20 years as it sounds today. It has little to do with any musical trends of the moment and its colors are the colors of human experiences shared by a broad spectrum of the living. It does not probe the darkness and does not seek out states of the ecstatic, or, rather, its ecstatic lies in simple things and those in-between moments that we ignore contemplating the last and the next big thing.
Mountains – Choral
Arp & Anthony Moore – Freakways, Vol. 3
The Advisory Circle – Mind How You Go
Stream: Tape – Revelationes preview