Rural Tapes has released his self-titled debut album today via Smuggler Music on all streaming platforms here and available to purchase on Bandcamp here. To mark the launch of the critically acclaimed record he has released a video for the new song ‘The Observer’.
‘The Observer’ is a grand spacious and inquisitive instrumental track, warped with musical saw and jazz influenced horns, percussion and bass. The video is equally perplexing as hidden eyes calling to mind the Illuminati follow the journey of a mindless, expressionless face.
Rural Tapes is the moniker of the Norwegian producer and multi-instrumentalist Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen. Regarding ‘The Observer’ he says, “‘The Observer’ is the song I have had the longest in my archive, it was started probably 10 years ago. In its infancy I felt it was a song Tortoise could have made 20 years ago, perhaps with a kind of peripheral western feel, but as it was dressed up with the contributions of Gary Olson, Rhodri Marsden and Josh Kantor it suddenly got a twist towards the cinematic.
“I have always thought that the song deserves a video, and when I saw a work by the young and talented filmmaker Abel Skancke Aarflot earlier this autumn, I just had to ask if he could be interested in making something for my song. This is the result.”
Rural Tapes is a largely instrumental odyssey that draws inspiration from 70’s krautrock, film music, classical composers such as Chopin and instrumental bands such as the aforementioned Tortoise.
The album features the previously released singles including ‘Lost In Sound’ featuring Scott McCaughey of R.E.M on vocals, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor on Rhodes and Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits) playing flute. It also features the lead single ‘Pardon My French’, which also featured Alexis and Terry.
The idea of Rural Tapes started to assume form when Arne left Oslo to settle down in the countryside with his family back in 2014. In his courtyard, there’s a barn fully packed of instruments and mostly analogue recording equipment, he prefers outboard gear, being able to hear how a simple twist of a knob could affect the sound, rather than using software plug-ins. On the record, Arne is playing drums, drum machines, clavier, synthesizers, vocals, string instruments, some tuba and horns.
Arne has never been formally educated, neither as a musician nor as a studio technician. He works with the help of his ears, and not with help from an instruction manual. Perhaps that’s one explanation to why his music sounds like little else released in 2021.
“The biggest influence on the album has probably been the surroundings and the environment it was recorded in,” Arne explains. “It has affected me a lot, especially in the spring, hearing the chirping of birds instead of traffic noise on my little walk over the courtyard on the way to my studio.”
Rural Tapes self-titled debut album is an astonishing record, overflowing with creativity and unpredictable delights, and one of incomparable sound to anything released this year.
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