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Library Tapes has spent the last decade quietly producing gorgeous and melancholy modern classical music. On Escapism, his newest release on Auetic, he blends his distinctive piano playing with rich cello from Julia Kent. Fragile melodies and subtle arrangements combine to create something delicate and sublime.

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Escapism by Library Tapes
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8/10 Robin Staff review, 10 May 2016

You ever tried to listen to an ambient album for piano and cello while someone else blasts Islam Chipsy through the office? It’s not easy. I’ve managed to immerse myself in Library Tapes ‘Escapism’, though, by staring into its according artwork until it absorbs me. Mr. Tapes loves to blurr up beautiful landscapes, as evident from the several trees he’s photographed and then distorted for previous albums -- his music is much the same, employing Julia Kent to clarify the melodic thrust of things while his piano wonders the landscape in search of a bonfire.

Those of you who lean closer to neo-classical than ambient will know what Library Tapes is talking about: he’d rather rouse the heart than rest it, and as such Kent’s cello -- mixed loudly and proudly into proceedings -- proves the perfect addition, refusing to leave the record be between the plaintibe, Frahm-oriented piano thrums of “Running by the Roads” and “Tristesse”. The harmony does wonders for the record, keeping it from being another sterile rumination on what it’s like to play chords on a piano while feeling a filmic kind of melancholy.

It’s beautiful. Of course. I like it when it goes all out, best, when the Tapes dude responds to the grandiosity Kent is chasing: the second half of “Tristesse” bursts into an urgent piano melody that runs ‘til the point of collapse. In the end, the pieces feel loose and disconnected, like separately monolithic vignettes about different slabs of land. My ears are frightened because they don’t know where we’re going -- how rare that is, for a record like this.


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