Petter Lindhaden's self-professed mid-life crisis album was conceived (as all good mid-life crisis albums should be) whilst holed up alone in a remote woodland cabin in Sweden. It took three years to complete (presumably having to fit around two-seater sports car jaunts and hair colouring sessions). Taking a step away from Tired Tape Machine's usual intrumental-only vibe, this features multiple layers of harmonies and choir-like vocal imaginings.
LP £13.49 FR1-006
LP on Feeder Recordings.
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Ambient music only tells half the truth. It says it’ll always be there for us, but forgets that at some point we won’t be there to hear it. As his band name suggests -- that tapes, like all things, haul over and die -- Petter Lindhagen’s approach to making meditative ambience is staunchly organic, its symphonic overtones suggesting transience and mortality as it happens in real life. The neo-classical inclinations and post-rock flourishes of ‘Not Here’ recall Max Richter’s death fantasies more than, say, a Stars of the Lid album, and while the record is carried by droning choral work that could be considered similar to artists such as Julianna Barwick and Ian William Craig, it’s more likely to remind you of Ulver in their forest folk days -- a sombre, prophetic choir narrates ‘Not Here’, knowing it’ll all be over in the blink of an eye.
‘Not Here’ is actually one of Lindhagen’s most structured works, based around honest-to-god songs in which he does something most unbecoming of a composer: he hums. His voice recalls the haunted desperation of Mogwai when they woke up and started to sing on ‘Come On Die Young’ -- both because its inflected with pain and imperfect pitch, and because it’s shocking to hear him at all. The beauty of ‘Not Here’ is in the moments that you actually notice -- harmonies are overt and melodies tangible, while epic string swells fill songs with a forceful trepidation, disrupting the record’s eternal flow of acoustic guitars (plucked to sound like how your breath looks in winter) and sonorous piano. The more obvious and grand ‘Not Here’ gets, the more beautiful it becomes, climbing out of its ambient lulls for something that feels terrifying and confrontational. Don’t worry though -- death is forever, but it’s also not yet. So you still have time to hear ‘Not Here’, and maybe spin it a couple times after.
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