RURAL TAPES – Track by Track

Foto-© Knut André Dale

Am vergangenen Freitag veröffentlichte Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen den Nachfolger Innen Space Music zum hochgelobten und selbstbetitelten Debüt als Rural Tapes. Nachdem er zuvor im klanglichen Gefilde von Kraftwerk, Air oder Serge Gainsbourg fischte, sind nun Acts wie Can, Raymond Scott, oder auch ein wenig George Harrison und Joe Meek Paten der neuen zehn Songs. Mathisens musikalische Karriere erlebte einen rasanten Start, als seine ehemalige Band Heroes & Zeroes im Jahr 2007 für ihr Debütalbum Strange Constellations gleich zwei norwegische Grammy-Nominierungen erhielt. Auch das zweite Album sorgte für viel positiven Anklang der Kritiker und eine weitere Grammy-Nominierung – doch 2014 folgte die Auflösung. Das Solo-Projekt nahm kurz darauf Form an, als Mathisen Oslo verließ, um sich mit seiner Familie auf dem Lande in Grimstad in Südnorwegen niederzulassen. Wenn man sich die Musik anhört, kann man fast hören, wie die schöne ländliche Umgebung präsent ist und die Klanglandschaften formt. Mathisen erkannte, dass er Musik schaffen wollte, die frei von episodischen Trends ist, die oft zumindest einen gewissen Einfluss auf Musik aus den Städten haben. “Ein großer Einfluss ist für mich die Umgebung, in der ich lebe und arbeite. Die Möglichkeit, Zeit in dieser Umgebung zu verbringen, hat meine Musik definitiv stark beeinflusst, vor allem im Frühling, wenn ich auf meinem kleinen Spaziergang über den Hof auf dem Weg zu meinem Studio das Zwitschern der Vögel anstelle des Verkehrslärms höre. Ich wollte, dass diese Musik den Test der Zeit übersteht und sich noch genauso aktuell anfühlt, wenn man sie in zehn Jahren wieder spielt”, erklärt Mathisen. Für uns hat der Musiker ein Track by Track zu seinem neuen Album verfasst!

1. Inner Space

It was clear to me that this had to be the opening track pretty quick after it was recorded. Inner space is defined as “the region between the earth and outer space, or below the surface of the sea”, and to me this music fit that description quite well. While recording this piece I was picturing a ride through my own inner space, discovering new chambers of sounds and ideas everywhere. A ride where the listener never know quite what to expect around the next corner. I guess this is a proper picture of my musical mind.

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2. Candystore

Over the last years, I`ve been deep down in a rabbit hole with British and American composers from the 60 ́s and 70`s, such as Daphne Oram, John Baker and Raymond Scott. Among other things, hey composed music for purposes like commercials and jingles for radio and TV, and their creativity and sonic brilliance totally blows my mind. Listening to their music is like being in a sound candystore, and this track can be heard as a homage to them. It all fell to place when I bought an old Amdek echo unit by my good friend, Serena Maneesh-frontman Emil Nikolaisen. Suddenly my studio was transported to the 70`s. This unit is all over this album.

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3. Bossa nova for the contrails of my tears

On this one I had this idea about pairing the aesthetics from Antônio Carlos Jobim and Joe Meek, like mixing music from a Brazilian beach and outer space. Sometimes I pictured an astronaut relaxing on a beach with a drink, though still being weightless when he tried to dive into the water for a swim. It was pretty clear to me that this piece needed vocals, and I teamed up with Steve Wynn from The Dream Syndicate, who I`ve been lucky to perform with a couple of times over the years. A perfect voice for spoken word. The story he`s telling is experienced and written by my good friend and band colleague for more than 20 years, Hans Jørgen Undelstvedt.

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4. Waltz for the living dead

I think this track holds a clear Rural Tapes DNA, the moods here continue some of the filmatic aesthetics from my debut. When steel guitarist Øystein Braut did a layer on this one, one of the chords felt a bit insomniac in a way, and I thought this would be a nice soundtrack for the living dead to dance the waltz into eternity to.

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5. Five-a-Side

A short miniature, based on fifths. A common way to build jazz chords for example. Recorded through old echo units and a cassette recorder, which gives the nicest textures I know of.

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6. Listen

I don`t remember where this piece came from, but probably it`s a mix of expressions from many different composers and bands I`ve been a fan of over the years: Laurie Spiegel, Tortoise, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and so on. Strictly composed patterns by me, and beautifully improvised flutes and clarinets by Terry Edwards and Kristine Tjøgersen.

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7. Sea urchins

Another miniature, performed on one of my favourite instruments, a simple Yamaha organ like the ones you`ll find in every second Norwegian home. Terry Edwards plays an Indian shehnai on this one, and in regards to the undersea definition of the album title, I thought it was kind of nice to picture what communication by an undersea creature like Sea urchins could sound like. Although it`s kind of wistful, I think it sounds like they`re in harmony.

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8. Arkestra piece for hard-working ants

A large orchestra of incredible musicians with background in everything from jazz, indie, contemporary classical music and psych rock contributes to a wonderful fusion on this song. I think the intensity was perfectly suited as a soundtrack to the activity in an anthill, hence the title. A piece I look so much forward to perform live over the next weeks!

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9. Music for shadows to follow

This piece is something I recorded as a demo many years ago. I never quite knew what to do with it, but always wanted it to be performed on a woodwind instrument. More than 20 years ago, I went to high school with Kristine Tjøgersen, who now is a well-reputed classical composer, and a virtuoso on clarinet and bass clarinet. Working with her again after all these years has been so much fun. I wrote down notes for her to this piece and asked her to arrange a couple more voices for bass clarinet, and she came up with this wonderful, minimalistic arrangement. A tiny intermission after the quite intense “Arkestra piece for hard-working ants”.

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10. Leaving Inner Space

This felt like a pleasant way to round it all off, with suggestive marimba and gamelan arpeggios on repeat while Peter Buck lulls us all to sleep with a sleep-inducing bass line. Followed by ambient sounds sent through flimmering cassette recorders, which is the last sound you`ll experience from your trip through Rural Tapes` inner space.

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Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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