Instrumental music isn’t something I give a lot of time too – call me an idiot (that’s fair, I am an idiot), but music without the trace of a real human behind it just doesn’t get to me. For instance, I find much of Mogwai’s output to be dull as balls, no matter how noisy they might get. Soundtracks make sense, as they evoke something by being connected with a separate medium, but instrumental music by itself just doesn’t provoke the same feelings (except in the case of certain albums which create a narrative or general mood as a whole – like Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On, which had some excellent instrumental tracks). It makes sense then that the two instrumental acts I’ve got hung up on recently have made me think of soundtracks, real or imagined, when I listened to them.
The first came courtesy of Tired Tape Machine, a one man, Stockholm-based act otherwise known as Petter Lindhagen, who releases his second album, Between Raindrops, next week. The tracks are generally marked by their sweeping approach to indie rock; percussive, ringing arrangements that flow from one idea to the next seamlessly. That progression of ideas ends up feeling a little narrative as you go through, moving from instrument to instrument, mood to mood, until it seems like the soundtrack to a story that hasn’t been told yet (which makes more sense when you realise that Tired Tape Machine’s debut was used on the soundtracks of two movies after its release). It’s a bold attempt at making instrumental music with a purpose beyond itself, and one that pays off when you find yourself wondering what sort of scene it would back up instead of focusing on, you know, walking somewhere.
Tired Tape Machine – Plastic Smile
The second act’s appeal was a little more grounded in my love of something else – Frank Rabeyrolles’ ‘Bang’ immediately reminded me of Clint Mansell’s incredible soundtrack to Moon (which, by the way, might just be one of the best sci-fi films ever made so, you know, watch it). The shivering guitar spine that lies at the heart of all the electronic noodling that makes up the song seems similar in effect to Mansell’s continued piano refrain that pops up in every track on the Moon OST – whatever else goes on, that one repetitive, dreamlike hook drifts continuously back in, like a worry at the back of your mind. It’s a spectacular effect, eerie and beautiful in equal measure. I’m not entirely sure if I like it so much simply because it reminds me of Moon, but frankly I’m past caring.
Frank Rabeyrolles – Bang