It was in April 2003 when I met Tape’s Johan Berthling and Häpna co-founder Klas Augustsson in Stockholm for the first time. They handed me a proper pile of CDs, and to me it was love at first sight. I was truly intrigued by Häpna’s colourful blend of different releases covering a spectrum from sound art, field recordings, improv, minimalism, folk and ( for lack of any better words to describe Sheriff's outerworldly music ) chamber rock. And there was Opera, the debut by Tape, which managed to sum up the labels brilliant catalogue.
A week after this meeting I wrote in a review
”Using a wide array of instruments like guitar, harmonium, melodica, field recordings, percussion, computer, harmonica, zither, piano, accordion, soprano sax and trumpet, Tape's music lives at the intersection of a 21st century chamber music and an imaginary folklore. I write this on a train from Weimar to Berlin (the distance to my girls at home is growing bigger and this always makes me feel a little melancholic), riding through the marvellous green and sun-flooded Mark-Brandenburg countryside. Slowly passing by vast yellow rape fields and ancient, abandoned factories, the music on my headphones seems to fit almost too perfectly. The sun and nature are certainly core ingredients of Opera and its slowly floating melodies carry the spirit of travel, not on an aircraft, but submerged in a landscape instead.”
In the meantime Tape have distilled their sound with their following albums Milieu, Rideau and the most recent collaboration with Tenniscoats more and more into an organic song-like format. While all of them are excellent, Tape’s essence can be found in Opera.
Listening to Opera again after almost six years, it proofs to be a truly great and timeless album.
Stephan Mathieu, January 2008
Opera Plus is a reissue of Opera (Häpna H.9), with three new tracks taken from the original 2002 sessions. Now in digipak with new cover art.
Tracks: 1. Bell Mountain, 2. Fire Made of Bones, 3. Leafed Hands, 4. Feeler, 5. Summa, 6. Cookie Drum (Reads Too Much), 7. Radiolaria, 8. Longitude, 9. Noises from a Hill, 10. Return to Ship, 11. Terraces, 12. Chord Mountain, 13. Rut