Music Tapes Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes

Julian Koster of the Music Tapes doesn’t only live in his own head, he devotes himself to externalising his unique headspace, right down to the last detail. Ever resourceful, Koster has a veritable junk store full of devices to get his ideas across. He coaxes the prettiest sounds out of the singing saw, plays with a seven-foot tall metronome and keeps an arsenal of vintage sound-making equipment ("instruments” is too narrow a term). The Elephant 6er is a pop songwriter deep down but his take on the conventional song is painstaking and complex. Koster takes his time, making melodies by layering sounds and noises from a number of different sources — to simply sing and play guitar would be copping out. It’s been nine years since the last Music Tapes album. Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes was recorded in several of Koster’s bedrooms (he seems to be a bit of a rover) and took four years to complete. Aided by a coterie of musicians on the euphonium, "magic tape organ,” flugelhorn, clarinet and violin (among many other instruments), Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes is no less than a symphony — a very inventive, impossible-to-duplicate one. (Merge)