As a member of The No Ones, Kjelsrud Mathisen has played alongside R.E.M. members Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck for years. Now he’s going solo for the first time in his career, releasing music under the moniker Rural Tapes.
The first single is titled ‘Pardon My French’ with guest appearances from Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and saxophonist Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits). A largely instrumental odyssey that draws inspiration from 70’s krautrock, film music, classical composers such as Chopin and instrumental bands like Tortoise, it’s the first cut from Rural Tapes’ debut album released this spring through Smuggler Music.
“I sent off ’Pardon My French’ to Alexis on a fluke, just asking him if he’d be up for contributing to the track in some way or the other,” Mathisen details. “He loved it and added a Rhodes piano, giving the song a psychedelic twist which was further accentuated by Terry Edward’s magical sax track. In the end, the song had transformed into something I’d never expected in the first place. Something fantastic that I could never have achieved just by my own.”
The idea of Rural Tapes started to assume form when Mathisen left Oslo to settle down in the countryside with his family back in 2014. Listening to the music, you can almost hear how the beautiful, rural surroundings are being present, moulding the soundscapes.
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.
Mathisen’s career was off to a flying start when his former band Heroes & Zeroes got two Norwegian Grammy nominations for their debut album Strange Constellations back in 2007. Their song ‘Into The Light’ was included on the FIFA 08 soundtrack, which was followed by extensive touring in Europe and the US. They were also Norwegian Grammy nominated a third time with their sophomore album Simian Vices Modern Devices in 2008, before they disbanded in 2014.
Since then he’s been a member of The No Ones playing with Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck and been a member of the Norwegian indie pop band I Was A King, who’s collaborated and toured with Teenage Fanclub.