Today, The Music Tapes’ new digital EP Purim’s Shadows is available in the Merge store and from all your favorite digital outlets. Also, exclusively in the Merge store, the Purim’s Shadows EP comes with a special limited-edition Music Tapes kazoo, a bonus track, and a special surprise from Julian Koster himself.
Julian shared some thoughts about Purim’s Shadows and The Music Tapes with us:
Purim’s Shadows is a very small entrance into a vast landscape that is both auditory and imaginary and from which will come two full-length albums that I’m very excited about. The first will be Mary’s Voice, which we are finishing up now and will comprise the first half of Imaginary Symphony No. 3.
The Music Tapes, to me, is a sort of living dream that illustrates the continual process of how dreams become real. For example, when the 7-Foot-Tall Metronome sprang from my imagination, it was to be The Music Tapes’ primary rhythm instrument, and although it existed only as a drawing in a notebook, imagining it delighted and inspired me. My friends (Scott Spillane, Terry Rowlette, Robbie Cucchiaro, Laura Carter, Eric Harris, and others) saw the drawing and, in a flurry of excited activity, made it real. And thus the real world became different: it had a 7-foot-tall metronome in it.
Many of the basic tenants of The Music Tapes’ world are found on Purim’s Shadows, including the 7-Foot-Tall Metronome which provides the primary rhythm for “A Lightning’s Cheeks.” Also featured are the Orchestral Banjo and the Singing Saws. The Orchestral Banjo is played with a violin bow, producing a sound that I love very much; it’s like having at your command ghostly orchestras from crackly old records. And Saws, of course, sound to me like angels. This recording marks the first time a Singing Saw solo was encouraged (played) by someone other than me on a Music Tapes record: the solo at the end of “Night and Day” is the work of Ian Ludders, a great encourager of Saws, and I am honored to have had him play with us. Robbie Cucchiaro, The Music Tapes’ co-founding member, supplied horns and his signature euphonium. And finally, the most important contributors to this recording, and central to The Music Tapes’ sound, are the Webster Chicago wire recorder, RCA DX44 ribbon mic, and The Music Tapes’ array of antique and modern recording machinery and field recorders.
Without state-of-the-art machinery, The Music Tapes’ recordings would be next to impossible. But, of course, the past is where the future comes from. What often makes something new is not a loyal adherence to the trends and technologies of the moment but rather a loving interaction with the rich inheritance that makes our moment in time the most unique of all. All that has come before us has been left for us to find, dusty and often without any context to distract from its pure magic. It is my happiness to endeavor to make brand-new sorts of things in which all that I love most about the world will have a home, just as my friends meaningfully and lovingly set out to make a 7-foot-tall metronome exist, giving their love and friendship a large, loud wooden form that can march forward in time.