Tape Cuts Tape – Black Mold (Jezus Factory Records)

Tape Cuts Tape – Black Mold (Jezus Factory Records)

This is music that sounds like other music which is in love with yet more music. Black Mold is the second album from the Belgian improv trio Tape Cuts Tape. That their native land adjoins Germany at its most easterly frontier may go some way to understanding how the influence of early 70’s Krautrock has seeped so extensively into Tape Cuts Tape’s bloodstream, no more so than on the opening title track. The 13 minutes and 20 seconds of its duration consumes more than one third of the record and it proves to be the time most well spent. Marshalled by Eric Thielmann’s robust, military-step drumming, this effects-laden epic slowly develops its very own momentum and narrative, one that is built upon the same reiterative, rhythmic patterns once found in early Neu! and La Düsseldorf recordings. It is an impressive piece of shimmering, mechanical engineering.

But just like the debut album from dEUS – the band in which Tape Cuts Tape’s guitarist Rudy Trouvé was a founding member – Black Mold front loads its best moment to the very beginning and in so doing what then remains unfortunately pales by way of comparison.  Lynn Gassiers’ gossamer voice traces a gentle curve across Deep Garden’s spectral ambience; Sludge grinds out a murky guitar riff wholly befitting of its name; and the penultimate Loose Thoughts, punctuated by the squalling fuzz of Trouvé’s guitar, does meander most pleasantly across an aural landscape previously painted by Yo La Tengo sixteen years ago on Autumn Sweater, but they each fail to reach the heights scaled by that opening track.

Ultimately the whole of Black Mold is probably less than the sum of its parts, but in re-imagining various staging posts from their musical past Tape Cuts Tape are able to clearly demonstrate on this album that today in Belgium there is much more to the country than just red tape.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Released on vinyl and CD via Heaven Hotel Presents/Jezus Factory Records on 20th May 2013


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