There is something about the Winter time that makes me feel more.. sophisticated. Maybe it’s the Peacoat, maybe it’s the soul satisfying cup of coffee needed to keep warm in the early hours, or maybe it’s the music. One London based label has my admiration, and for good reason. A casual afternoon spent devouring their SoundCloud collection has led to some prolific and merciful finds. To me, it’s music that sounds like a piece of the composer was put into a given production, a piece that they might not get back but needs to be shared nonetheless. It takes a certain kind of artist to create music like that, and Erased Tape Records has managed to find a bountiful lot of them.
I’ve become familiar with some of Nils’ more recent productions, and I guess you could say that is what led me down the internet rabbit hole to Erased Tape’s SoundCloud. His “You, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Me” project has become my go to whilst curled up with a good book. Its classical roots sans vocals create a very stimulating atmosphere with no distracting bells and whistles to deter your train of thought. With carefully crafted remixes that poignantly find their place in the electronic realm, he represents a hybrid of the two worlds that honors his classical upbringing while grounding himself in the modern day. Often blending the digital and analog worlds with upright and grand pianos accompanied by drum machines and his Moog, he is one of the more masterful maestros to emerge from the label.
In terms of the MOST masterful on the label, some might go as far to say Lubomyr might take the title, and I would not contest. I don’t know how much you as a reader have experienced the classical world but this piece of work might be one of the more fantastical and moving arrangements I’ve heard from an artist of this generation. Heavy words, I know, but one listen and you will know what I mean. Melancholy is a word that I might use to describe the broad range of emotions that “Evertina” evokes. You can hear the gut wrenching despair as chords resolve into brilliant exclamations of joy. A rollercoaster, if you will, so buckle up then bunker down for this one.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Ready for action at the ripe tempo of 120 BPM is Winged Victory For The Sullen. Similar to the Nils Frahm vein, this music morphs and bends with sweeping orchestral arrangements and piano driven chords that steer from a delicate staccato and transform into sullen swirling synth pads. The fluctuation from a delicate pianissimo to boisterous forté help draw the emotion out of the listener as focus is demanded and/or diminished throughout the two movement EP. Best enjoyed with a glass of aged spirits and a beautiful view.
If it’s vocals you feel like you’ve been missing out on, look no further than Douglas Dare. His voice commands your attention in a concentrated furrowed brow sort of way. With just the right amount of weathered and raspy vocal chords he seals the deal with eloquent vibrato and finishes off the masterpiece that the backing piano starts to paint. Rival Consoles and Throwing Snow add their respective electronic elements to the original to wrap up one of my favorite EP’s off the label. Throwing Snow almost has some Wedidit/RL Grime chanting/incantations that accompany the project with some sinister live kit action.
Last but not least is one of the more widely revered artists on the Erased Tapes label, with a hand in production on The Hunger Games Soundtrack and a handful of lesser known films, he also played drums in a couple of hardcore metal bands, one called “Fighting Shits.” Yeah. He’s pretty badass. Although you would never be able to tell with some of the pieces he’s arranged. Live strings and piano looping provide space for ambient electronic productions that can sometimes make their foray into harsher electronic soundscapes (i.e. “Til Enda”). In terms of uniting the natural and electronic worlds, Ólafur does it best, and in true grandiose fashion. Below are some of his limited edition Vinyl Reissues, perfect for any aficionados you might know this holiday season.
And hopefully we now share an affinity for the Erased Tapes family as this venture into their digital world concludes. Keep them in mind as the weather cools off and the season to be jolly rounds the corner. Erased Tapes pairs with winter like frost on the pane, gingerbread wafting through the air, and companionship next to a crackling fire.