Tape Opera

[Häpna; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: electro-acoustic, avant-garde, field recordings
Others: Yu-Cheng, Fennesz, David Sylvian, Barry Adamson

As I get older, I find myself getting less sleep than I used to. I’m not sure if it’s that I require less, or that I’m just not capable of sleeping as long as I used to. Well, a few days ago I woke up about an hour and a half earlier than I normally do and proceeded to the computer as part of my daily routine. As I sat down, I looked at the small stack of promos sitting next to me to see if there were any that I wanted to listen to. I had previously listened to brief moments of Opera by Tape, so I had a pretty good idea of what they sounded like, and morning music is what they are. With my little bit of knowledge of the album, I decided that this would be a good time to revisit the soothing sounds that I recalled a week before that. Tape is a trio that consists of Johan and Andreas Berthling, and Tomas Hallonsten. The three have created a sublime album that is simultaneously avant-garde and, dare I say it, new-age sounding. 

If you wanted to ease someone into an artist like Fennesz, Opera would be a perfect introductory lesson; simply because they are not as impetuous sounding as he can sometimes be. A lot of the sounds you’ll hear are spacious and soothing. At times they’re even so pristine, that you can actually taste them in your mouth. During other moments, you’d swear that you could smell the dew coming up from the morning grass. You’ll also get your fair share of birds singing and crickets chirping. The majority of Opera, however, is led by sensuous strumming of classical guitar pieces that are paired with small bits of displaced electronics and static noises. Although Opera is a bit repetitious at times, all ten songs are very well executed. The entire album is cohesively great from beginning to end and well worth a slot in your collection.

1. Bell Mountain
2. Fire Made of Bones
3. Feeler
4. Summa
5. Radiolaria
6. Longitude
7. Noises from the Hill
8. Return to Ship
9. Terraces
10. Rut