Wednesday, January 09, 2008


For a little while now the output of Library Tapes has been pretty reliable. Sweden’s David Wenngren has used that moniker to craft lo-fi ambient recordings that merge narrow classical compositions with field recordings of sounds normally found in nature and/or of machines no older than the early 20th Century. Guest contributors are frequent but ultimately he controls the sound and, more importantly, the style.

There’s very little tonal color and few planned notes on a Library Tapes record. Music wanders, enters a new domain, searches for a familiar voice, lies down, and then promptly goes to sleep. Narrative-wise it’s repetitive and more than a little forgettable. Conceptually, Wennegren hit upon something effective.

The moods evoked in Library Tapes records tap into the best potential of lo-fi music. Everything seems nocturnal, hollow, and elusive. Immediately you want to hear more but you end up just chasing the same melodies around in circles. It’s lonely music, but rich in spirit and execution. Lo-fi has allowed Winnegrad an avenue to gain the intimacy of the listener while hiding his own voice as an artist. You can’t find any trace of him on these records not even on solo piano pieces. He willfully does not live in his records. Until a short time ago

I’ve just heard Wenngren’s finest moment and it’s not on the new EP or any announced album as of yet. It’s only on myspace designated as a “to be released” work called “Pieces of us Were Left on the Track”. All the trappings of fuzzy recordings are gone and replaced with a clear and consistent voice that is noticeably brighter and far more beautiful than all of his midnight dirges of the recent past. The one “found sound” recoding that is used isn’t an atmospheric choice. Instead it’s placed in a moment of unexpected poignancy. When you hear it, you’ll know.


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