the music tapes – music tapes for clouds and tornadoes (merge)
the first time i ever heard a singing saw was in mercury rev’s deserter’s songs, in the album’s third song “endlessly” where its gentle caresses at the start transform into a swollen and almost manic disruption to the song’s deceivingly peaceful “silent night” chorus. in the music tapes‘ anticipated album released almost a decade in the making, the singing saw becomes the centerpiece, around which other instruments of varying curiosity levels revolve (it’s also the instrument of choice in the eerie rendition of the refrain from “the first noel” in the album’s “song for oceans falling”). the project of former neutral milk hotel member julian koster, clouds and tornadoes sounds exactly like what the title suggests – a paradoxically assembled record bearing sounds of calm and storm, stasis and chaos, peace and revolt, comfort and discomfort. i must admit that as an e6 fan, this is (embarrassingly) the first time i’m encountering koster’s solo work, so this does get me thinking again about the influence of his keen (and quaint) spirit of experimentation on the neutral milk hotel records.