Rural Tapes has announced the release of his self-titled debut album out April 30th via Smuggler Music. The album will be released digitally and on vinyl, available to pre-order here.
Marking the announcement Rural Tapes has released the brand new single ‘Lost In Sound’ featuring Scott McCaughey of R.E.M on vocals, Hot Chips’ Alexis Taylor on Rhodes and Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits) playing flute. The hypnotic track is accompanied by an equally trippy video featuring kaleidoscopic visuals pulsating around a performance by Scott. The video premiered with GQ along with a feature announcing the album here.
‘LOST IN SOUND’
BRAND NEW SINGLE RELEASED
FT. SCOTT MCCAUGHEY & ALEXIS TAYLOR
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Rural Tapes is the moniker of the Norwegian producer and multi-instrumentalist Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen. Arne has previously been a part of the acclaimed bands I Was A King, Heroes & Zeros and also The No Ones, which has seen him play with R.E.M’s Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck for years.
Speaking to GQ Mathisen says, “When I started finishing my album last spring, it was pretty clear to me that I wanted Scott to contribute in some way. I’ve been working with him over the last 5-6 years, and he has been a huge inspiration for me, both when it comes to songwriting, being uncompromising in music and just being a great guy. A true genius, just listen to the masterpiece ‘Down with Wilco’ by The Minus 5. I sent him a couple of tracks I thought might appeal to him, including this one. A day or two later he sent it back, finished with words and a great double vocal track. There are also solid contributions from Alexis Taylor, Terry Edwards, Lars Tofte and Øystein Braut.”
Adding on the collaboration Scott McCaughey says, “I knew Arne to be a very talented drummer and pianist via our work together with The No Ones (among others), but I was blown away to hear the scope of this solo effort. The instrumental track reminded me of a “lost” R.E.M. song circa REVEAL. It took me right back to those joyous mystery days in Vancouver BC — only this time I was the one asked to put words and voices over the ethereal landscape. So I got “Lost In Sound” and I still do whenever I hear it!”
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.
Mathisen 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,” Mathisen 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 is a largely instrumental odyssey which draws inspiration from jazz, 70s krautrock, film music, classical music such as Chopin and instrumental bands like Tortoise. And yet, listening to the music, you can feel how the beautiful, rural surroundings are present, moulding the soundscapes.
With Rural Tapes, Mathisen realised he wanted to create music free from episodic trends that often has at least some degree of impact on music coming from urban cities. “I wanted this music to stand the test of time and feel just as current when you play it again in ten years from now,” he explains.
Some of the tracks on the fascinating album have been work in progress for a good 10 years. Letting the material mature over such a long period of time has been of benefit to the project he says, “Throughout the past decade I’ve felt as if I’ve developed tremendously, both as a musician and on a personal level. I think I needed that before I could make these songs full justice.”
On the record, Mathisen is playing drums, drum machines, clavier, synthesizers, vocals, string instruments, some tuba and horns. However there’s plenty of room for guest appearances.
‘Lost In Sound’ follows the release of lead single ‘Pardon My French’ last month, which also featured Alexis Taylor and Terry Edwards. The album has further guests including the likes of Gary Olsen (The Ladybug Transistor) playing trumpet on ‘The Observer’ and ‘By Dusk’, while Rhodri Marsden (Scritti Politti) plays the musical saw on ‘The Observer’.
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.