12.17.19 by Ryan Masteller
I feel like we’re an official mouthpiece for Strategic Tape Reserve at this point, but it’s not unwarranted. The Cologne-based label is one of the most consistently interesting purveyors of fine cassette-taped goods, and receiving a new STR release in the mail is always an exciting moment – some might even refer to such instances as “events.” I would go so far to say that STR currently sits at or near the top of my favorite labels going at the moment. Never a dull moment with these rascals.
The Tuesday Night Machines is somewhat of a label staple – this is the third release by the enigmatic producer that’s come out on the label, following last year’s “Hawaiian Yurt Music” (which I happen to have also loved).* That tape came housed in burlap. This new one – “Roof Tent Rhythms” – is packaged all up in a piece of hand-cut and folded tarp, held together with a glued-on Velcro tab. It’s … unusual. But so was the burlap.
Here’s the why behind the tarp: TNM made these tunes after packing up “a tiny car with a big tent strapped to its roof, 18 carefully selected second-hand music CDs, an old battery-powered Akai MPC 500 sampling workstation and only a vague idea of a destination.” This sounds great, but when you realize that “Roof Tent Rhythms” was crafted exclusively from samples of early STR releases (and “various free online drum sample collections”), it becomes even more of a labor of love. Awesomely, this “downtempo beat tape” perfectly encapsulates the STR an TNM aesthetics, serving as an overarching reminder of the greatness of the artist and the label, as well as other artists on the label (which is essentially just saying “the label” again, but props where props are due).
Unsurprisingly, the tarp the tape is folded up in is “a piece of the very same tarp which kept the rain from running into the camping vehicle on that fateful day in Montenegro, when glow worms ate our cheesecake.” Seems like a battery-powered Akai MPC 500 is perfect for working on tunes in the wilderness (or wherever there isn’t a plug), and apparently glow worms like cheesecake. Who knew? There’s a song dedicated to that even, track 1. So grab your own cheesecake, lean back in your favorite sleeping bag, pop on some headphones, and drift off into the plunderphonic delights of “Roof Tent Rhythms.” Edition of 25.
* TNM also recently self-released a tape called “Waever.”