Tape Rideau

Morr Music
19th December 2022

Format Info

For us, our 20th birthday feels more like a gentle landmark rather than an epic supreme moment. Before slowly slides into after, we’re still the same. So it’s impossible not to reflect on the music that’s really stuck with us along the way. Tape, from Sweden, started the same year as us  – in 2002. It was an instant love affair – we had a feeling that if we played their music in the shop people would buy it, it felt like our kind of thing even if we weren’t sure what our kind of thing exactly was.
At first their music came from a Manchester distributor, on cd only in the early days. It was on their own Häpna label, beautifully packaged, unassuming and hopeful. After a while we started to buy direct from them, from Johan Berthing and his label partner Klas Augustsson. Their music was consensual in the shop, we all loved it – Johan’s beautiful hypnotic strum, the whirs, the languid keyboard lines. Each record was an event in the same way that releases on Clay Pipe later became.
Rideau was their third album – soon after its release they played with Tarwater in Mono, probably at a Triptych-adjacent event. Morr Music, who are handling the reissue, describe it as a great leap forward moving from their previous pastoral folk meets electronica starting point into something more sculpted. A lot of this is down to the producer, Marcus Schmickler (Pluramon), who opened their sound out arriving at a new unknown place which encompasses the whole room, luscious and melodic and inquisitive too.
Even now it feels unplaceable, in its own time – then, now, who knows. Talking about it recently Johan says that it was a special album for them to make and that the combination inspired them to look at things differently. “Marcus really shaped the music, working architecturally to build the form of the pieces”. There’s so such space in the music, so many possibilities to live in. It’s so melodic, so graceful, so unrepeatable. As Morr point out, it also feels very contemporary, “their elliptical poetry echoes through recent music from the likes of Tara Clerkin Trio, and Tape’s sometime collaborators, Tenniscoats”.
Sometimes there’s too much rush to say something’s great when what we mean is that it’s really just great in the moment. Apologies if we’re sometimes guilty of that, we all want to feel slightly giddy with the latest thing – to feel that we’re in at the start of an adventure. Listening to Rideau now I feel that Tape still have that sense of adventure – they feel bold and new and at the same time, a little permanent. An old friend who can still surprise you. They really have been one of the groups of our time here – thank you for always sounding so excellent, Tape.
Rideau is available for the first time on vinyl in an edition of 500 with one bonus track.
Stephen / Monorail Music


On their third album, Rideau, Swedish trio Tape made their great leap forward. Released in 2005 on Häpna, following two albums of pastoral folk meets electronica, Rideau saw the trio of Andreas and Johan Berthling, and Tomas Hallonsten, working with an outside producer, Marcus Schmickler (best known for his post-rock outfit Pluramon). On Rideau, Tape’s music opened out considerably, embracing traditional minimalism, and luscious melodicism. Now, 17 years later, it has a new home with Morr Music, who are reissuing the album on vinyl for the first time, including an extra track. 

It’s only logical that Rideau should reappear via Morr Music. Like Tape themselves, Morr Music was a significant part of a loose worldwide movement reconciling electronica, pop, and acoustic, group-oriented sound across the 2000s, and it sits neatly alongside other releases of similar heritage. Rideau also feels contemporary; their elliptical poetry echoes through recent music from the likes of Tara Clerkin Trio, and Tape’s sometime collaborators, Tenniscoats. 

Asked about the album, Johan Berthling recalls, “Rideau was a special album for us to make”. While they had previously recorded their albums in rural Sweden, for Rideau, the trio decamped to Schmickler’s Piethopraxis Studio in Cologne. The creative space that Schmickler carved out for the group allowed them to explore this new material to its fullest. For his part, Schmickler found himself drawn to Tape’s music: “Their focus was a combination of seemingly timeless folk influences with noisy electronics and field recordings,” he explains. You can hear Schmickler’s influence at an almost molecular level – Tape had never sounded quite so graceful and assured with their compositions. “Marcus really shaped the music, working architecturally to build the form of the pieces,” Berthling recalls. 

Rideau represents a collective exhalation for Tape, with the trio exploring more involved, longer pieces, which situates them in yet broader musical contexts. There are clear connections with the history of minimalism, for example, via the repeating organ phrase of Sunrefrain, and the insistent piano arpeggio of A Spire, which builds into a Reich-ian dream song, with sensuous electronics and glinting vibraphone dappling abstract shapes across the song’s stretched canvas. 

Reflecting on Tape’s essence, Schmickler isolates their “uncompromised ethos, caring about small details.” This echoes most radically through the twilight environment of Long Lost Engine, which sets the listener adrift on impossibly radiant drones, while a gentle, almost Feldman-esque melody plays out over the song’s surface. It’s followed by the reissue’s extra track, Japanese electronica quartet Minamo’s remix of Roulette, a connection that would lead to a Minamo/Tape collaborative album, Birds Of A Feather. 

For now, though, here is the gorgeous, penumbral abstraction of Rideau, an album of whispers and clues, quiet moments and grand gestures, reintroduced to a welcoming world.

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