Ad Noiseam remains one of the few long-running independant labels that still champions diversity, while being stubbornly difficult to pin down - something special in a time when other similarly diverse labels have found themselves pinned down to particular genre niches and have lost some of their charm in the process. Tapage's latest album "8", is his introductory release on Ad Noiseam, having previously put out releases through his own Dutch label Tapeface and Chicago's Tympanik Audio - both of which, like Ad Noiseam, are dedicated to audio experimentation. This latest release represents another stroke of Ad Noiseam's brush in a mellow direction (without compromising their more aggressive streak, which continues unabated) - an undercurrent that has often been present, but has taken more significant strides in the past year - through the work of Ben Lukas Boysen (aka Hecq) and his beautiful album 'Gravity', and now this wonderful album from Tapage.
Tapage himself is Tijs Ham - undoubtedly a character who spends much of his time across various projects (Full list here), and dedicated to sound as an artform through a variety of stylistic expressions. The album itself is a piece of conceptual work, with 8 tracks and each track being exactly 8 minutes in length. It's the kind of forcibly imposed restriction that could in some situations come across as gimmicky; but here I believe that he pulls it off - as it's actually pretty incidental to the quality of the structure and composition of the music itself. It's nice to have a package that's conceived as an album, rather than the rough collections of individual tracks that are so commonly presented in the current climate, and the 8 tracks of Post-Rock and Ambient-tinged Trip-Hop on offer here make for a very pleasant journey. For the most part, it's richly textured and subtley-touched with tape grain and nostalgia inducing melodies, providing the perfect soundtrack to these mid-Summer months.
Perhaps the highlight of the album for me is 'Three of Eight', with it's richly composed string intro (I'm a sucker for the Cello though) and a sense of melancholy that smoothly transitions into beautifully syncopated organic beats and the delightful sultriness of Tapage's collaborator here Pinar Temiz, whose lovely vocals are present through much of the album. Ultimtely this release sits nicely in the collection of those who favour acts such as Helios and the memory-inducing sadwarmth of Boards of Canada.
The release is available to buy now from Ad Noiseam's online store HERE - it's one I'll be carrying on my player for summer picnic vibes.