The Music Tapes: ...For Clouds and Tornadoes

By: Dennis Cook

Like some cracked wax cylinder spinning on a golden needle, big RCA dog style speaker cone vibrating with alien yet homey noises, The Music Tapes aren't like the other children. Oh, maybe the Cheap Suit Serenaders if they drank more absinthe. How else the complaints about reindeer tracks and befuddled singing saw? This is old time-y in the same way that steam powered zeppelins and rocket packs are old time-y – i.e. some wonderful fictitious universe where things are simpler and cooler and point to a future we will never actually know. Music Tapes For Clouds and Tornadoes (Merge) is what I expect Flash Gordon would bump in his ear buds if he had a portable Victrola. Each cut is a bent 78 record from this alternate universe, each one lively and ka-plingingly tweaked in its own way. The brainchild of Elephant Six smartie Julian Koster, this is clever, highly entertaining music. If you've ever lovingly perused any of the RE/Search Incredibly Strange Music books, then you've got a fresh soundtrack, which unlike other conscious emulators feels genuinely, well, strange. You can't manufacture sweet weirdness like The Music Tapes. It comes from a deep place, and thus resonates far more deeply than just some random tape splicing exercise. The tight-chest ache of "Tornado Longing For Freedom" and many others here speaks to a wondering mind that hasn't left his heart behind.

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