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Erased Tapes Rewinder series launched

10.4  2020


Today sees the start of the Erased Tapes Rewinder — a new series in which we rewind the tapes to the beginnings, revisiting highlights as the full catalogue is being added to our YouTube channel in high definition over the next year to replace all that lossiness that's been floating around... Join us to hear some of the stories behind each week's highlighted release.

Let's begin with the Vemeer EP by Aparatec, now better known as Rival Consoles:

"Ryan was the first to reach out to me via MySpace with four tracks recorded under his first moniker Aparatec, accompanied by a few words expressing his intrigue in what I was building with Erased Tapes and finishing with 'I'm sure these tracks will sell like hot cakes (haha)'. He wasn't wrong, the first 7-inch we pressed ran out within weeks. I spent hours and hours listening to various sketches of his, mostly on night buses back then. His approach to electronic music as a guitarist, hard-hitting beats that meet emotive strings and synth sounds, resonated so deeply with me. But most importantly, I liked his curiosity and determination, his confidence yet lightheartedness. Ryan and I became best friends." — Robert Raths, Erased Tapes founder

· listen to the Rewinder playlist on Spotify

For the second episode, The British Expeditionary Force's Justin Lockey tells us more about the genesis of Chapter One: A Long Way from Home:⁠ 

"I don't remember quite how I came across Erased Tapes back in the day... probably MySpace? Anyway, I was coming off the back of an intense few years of back to back album cycles with my first proper band, yourcodenameis:milo which was a post hardcore-mathy-grungey-post rock kinda affair... So I was craving something less abrasive, something simpler, which led me into the studio on my own to start throwing ideas around. I'd been producing quite a lot up to this point so felt really comfortable in the studio and not on tour.

From there I fell into a more minimal way of doing things, pushing myself to work things differently, to leave the guitars alone.. After a while I had these tunes forming that, although I was really happy with them, they needed someone else to bounce around with. I had been doing some recording with a band from Warrington in the North West called My Architects, and I loved Aid's tone of voice and delivery. It's so warm and layered, and his melodies are always fucking awesome and have real depth to them.

I shared with him the tracks I was making, and we cracked on via email and made Chapter One. We picked up my brother along the way to handle the bass and that became the core of the B.E.F. It was one of those things where it all just came together with no stress, just because we loved what we were making. At this time Bobby aka Das German was really early on in the beginnings of Erased Tapes. Both of us were in quite transformative times in our lives.. him having just moved to London and starting the journey with the label, and me moving away from the relentless album touring cycle into producing and collaborating more, and becoming a father. There were a lot of long phone calls, ideas, hopes and fears, and soul searching whilst we settled into where we find ourselves now.

I'm very happy that this record happened, and when it happened, and why it happened. It's good to push yourself into the new." — Justin Lockey

Robert looks back at his discovery of Ólafur Arnalds and the release of his Variations of Static EP:⁠

"After hearing only two songs on MySpace, I ordered a copy of Óli’s self-released Eulogy for Evolution CD plus a hand-printed t-shirt he made with help from his sister, Frida. He messaged me asking about Erased Tapes and if I was interested in releasing his music in England as he used to tour here as drummer in the hardcore band Fighting Shit. It took nearly a year until we finally met in person at the very first Erased Tapes label night we held at the Roundhouse in Camden.

This little 5-track EP was the first thing Óli and I properly collaborated on from the start. It was nice to involve Justin from The B.E.F. as co-producer on the opening track, Fok. Not only because Óli had grown fond of his electronics after I shared Chapter One with him, but mostly because it was actually thanks to Justin that I discovered his MySpace page in the first place. I recall many Skype calls in which we brainstormed ideas and one in particular when Óli couldn’t sleep and was wide awake late at night due to the sun still shining in Iceland. So he video-called me whilst skating through Mosfellsbaer, a suburb of Reykjavík where he lived with his parents. It looked so surreal and fantastical, very different from the fluorescent orange glow that’s polluting the London night sky.

Óli has always been equally interested in making and promoting music. So together we made an unstoppable combo in finding new ways for his music to travel far and wide, both online and offline. Within only a few months we had reached the farthest corners of the world together.” — Robert Raths

Nearly eleven years after its release in 2009, Paper Canyon has lost none of its original urgency; at once energetic and charming, always surprising and unpredictable. Codes In The Clouds bassist Joe Power recalls:⁠

Paper Canyon was recorded in the late summer of 2008 over 5 days in Doncaster. Being a bunch of Camden Market-dwelling teenagers in the early 2000’s, we were big fans of yourcodenameis:milo and were of course in love with The British Expeditionary Force, so hearing from Robert at Erased Tapes that Justin Lockey was going to produce the album was beyond exciting for us. The days in the studio were long, but working with two perfectionists in Justin and James Lockey you knew that the long days were going to be worth it.

Looking back on the process now, the memories that stand out are the endless shouts of “tune up!” after every take, the nearby café that offered “bottomless toast” with every breakfast (challenge accepted). Above all else, I think what stands out the most when reflecting on this record and listening to the tracks now is how young we were. This album could only have been written by people just entering their 20’s. It has been great going through all the songs, the demos and the videos from that time.”

In the fifth episode of the Rewinder, Peter Broderick recalls the making of his Erased Tapes debut, and takes the opportunity to apologise to Nils Frahm.⁠

"The memory of creating Music for Falling From Trees is very vivid in my mind, holed up in the top of a barn in the Oregon countryside with little more than a laptop, a broken piano and my trusty violin. And actually, looking back now, this was the first scoring job I was able to finish entirely. Adrienne, the choreographer, was very gracious and encouraging, and the process for me was very fluid. Fun fact: At the time I was becoming friends with a relatlively unknown pianist/producer from Germany called Nils Frahm, and I asked him if he’d like to master this dance score of mine. Upon receiving his master, I fixated on the fact that the hissing in the ’silent’ moments of the score were a bit louder, and opted to have someone else master the record. It was only in later years that I learned the level of Nils’ sonic wizardry. He must have been pissed off when his work wasn’t put to use, especially considering he had done it for free! Sorryyyyyyy."

Next Robert recalls how Nils Frahm’s piano-led debut Wintermusik ended up being released on Erased Tapes.⁠⠀

"In spring 2009 Peter (Broderick) asked me to send some tour stock of his release Music for Falling from Trees to his friend's address in Wedding, Berlin. His name was Nils. I don't remember if it was Peter who sent me this link via MySpace, but I somehow found myself watching a fairly terrible video recording of this German cat accompanying Peter at a concert some place South, I think it was Italy. ⁠⠀

Initially turned off by the banging on his CP70, it wasn't until I discovered his improvised solo piano recording Ambre and the 18-minute sonic odyssey on piano, celeste and reed organ that is Tristana that I felt propelled to reach out to him and express my appreciation and excitement for his work. I learned that he had recorded Wintermusik as a Christmas gift for his family and friends. But it evoked more than just feelings of melancholia and euphoria, it felt so free and alive in that he truly surrendered himself to the sound of the instruments and let them lead the way.⁠⠀

I remember our first ever conversation happened on Skype. In some ways it felt a bit like an online date, haha. We were both a bit nervous, incredibly serious about music, the aesthetics of sound, eager to conquer the world with our combined levels of perfectionism and work mania. At the same time we could imagine, build, dream and joke around for hours, just be ourselves and focus on being original."

Ólafur Arnalds tells us what his sophomore album …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness represents in his musical journey:

"It’s strange to think that it’s been 10 years since the release of …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness. It was an album of firsts: some of my first experiments with electronics and it was the first time I felt I was able to flesh out the full scope of the vision I had for my music.

The album concept is heavily inspired by Béla Tarr’s beautiful film, Werckmeister Harmonies. In fact most of the track names are Icelandic translations of the dialogue from the opening scene. It speaks about the cyclical nature of light, after the darkness comes light and so on - which feels eerily relevant during these dark times in the world.

Musically I think it was one of the first times I let a little light in with the melancholic music I started out making. And over the years I think that light has just grown stronger.

I look back on that record and all the tours we did around its release with great fondness."

Anne Müller tells us how a Christmas party can lead to a very special collaborative project.⁠

"In 2006 I met Nils Frahm at a Christmas party of the Berlin label Sinnbus. I was fascinated by this young guy and his music from the beginning. We got to know each other better and soon a first attempt to play music together turned into a whole album, and a great friendship. Fresh from university and totally into classical music, I tried all kinds of things on the cello. The motto was: higher, further, faster, more cello!⁠

I love Nils' feeling for sounds, his compositions and his technical understanding of music production and I learned a lot from him about all these things. We also had so much time back then, it's hard to imagine today... 7fingers is truly our musical baby which Robert Raths got to hear in 2010, and soon I became a member of the beloved Erased Tapes family. Whenever I listen to 7fingers, I think back to those great times and I'm proud of our work and the people who made this all possible. I love you all!"