Blood on Tape
Blood on Tape
Softland City; 2008
This, the first release from Texas duo Blood on Tape, is an organic, slowly-evolving beauty. Unlike other bands that blast away with impenetrable walls of noise, Blood on Tape give each gorgeous sound room to unfold and breathe, as they slowly sculpt them into the majestic landscapes featured on Blood on Tape.
On the album’s sprawling A side, a slow, enveloping guitar tone unfolds into small peaks and valleys, gently punctuated by acoustic strums. Breathing easily, the band remembers that negative space and silence are just as important a compositional tool as the instruments themselves. These warm waves of drone slowly expand, eventually overlapping before they are joined by slight percussion. Mallets on cymbals and gentle soundings of a gong give “In Sea” a majestic feel, evoking the same sense of grandeur found in Popol Vuh’s cinematic work.
The B side takes things in a more energetic direction, starting out with a deep, stuttering synth line. Still not in any particular hurry, a harmonium slowly explores the edges of the synthesizer, weaving peacefully in and out of the choppy tones. The second track on the B side, “By Design,” continues the harmonium tones, but now they hover above swirling atmospherics that eventually move to the forefront. Beginning to rough up around the edges, these foggy tones settle down over the track. Flowing beautifully into the last song on the album, this haze finally obscures the clear sounds heard throughout Blood on Tape, leaving the listener in a thick, disorienting stupor.
Blood on Tape is a great, cinematic journey. One can’t help but visualize aerial shots of remote landscapes. The raw beauty of the instruments and their measured composition is breathtaking. The incredible calmness of this work really stands out – there is a refreshing simplicity and maturity to these tracks. Blood on Tape have collected an arsenal of truly gorgeous sounds and are confident in just letting them mix and evolve together. A gorgeous, soothing listen, this tape is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a while.