Tape Refrains

Feral Child
28th July 2023

Stephen's Pick

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Format Info

!0" record plays at 45rpm.

Tape return with five new tracks – whirring, burring, being abstract and beautiful, just being Tape. Following on from last year’s glorious reissue of Rideau on Morr Music, Swedish alchemists, Tape present five new tracks for the Feral Child label whose releases sell out in the blink of an eye. 


They pick up exactly where they left off – it’s as if they’ve walked back into their studio where their instruments were patiently waiting for them ready to be dusted down, ready to be used to make something new. Hello Andreas. Ah hello Johan. And hello Tomas. In a way Refrains feels like Tape’s Next Day – there’s a slight tentativeness at first, a slight unfamiliarity then a wonderful re-connection. Piano, guitar, electronics, magic.


Tape’s music always has so much space – it’s the perfect music for when you feel crowded in. It’s the only music to play when you can’t walk from one end of the counter to the other for boxes and colleagues. I sometimes think it might be the music we’ve played the most in the shop  – a casual consensus to put something on that will help us get through the mess. But it’s not just public service music, it’s an adornment too – something beautiful and human and simple and great – like a functional piece of mid-century furniture – Scandinavian, of course.


Some things to know about Tape. Johan Berthling, whose primary instrument is bass, is one of my favourite guitar players. Johan Berthling and Andreas Berthing are brothers. Tomas Hallonsten is not. Johan ran the excellent Häpna label for many years with Klas Augustsson who has beautiful handwriting. These days Tape consider themselves veteran musicians – they’ve been around since 2000. They’ve collaborated with Tenniscoats, Bill Wells, Marcus Schmickler and Cédrick Eymenier. Their minimalist melodic compositions defy categorisation and exist in a world of its own, outside and in between genres.


Refrains, along with Ultramarine’s Send And Return, is the most beautiful music I’ve heard in 2023. Citadel, Atlas, In-Situ, In Trenches, Allurium – I think that’s what they’re called. Five enchanted tracks that run at 45rpm, a nice clean pressing. Sometimes everything works – Tape make things work. Thanks for that.


SP / Monorail Music

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