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1st Imaginary Symphony for Nomad

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Album Review

The most whimsical extension of the Elephant Six collective, the Music Tapes take the concept of lo-fi to an arty extreme, using vintage recording equipment and found sounds to create brittle psych-pop. An 1895 Edison wax cylinder recorder, a wire recorder from the '40s, and reel-to-reel and cassette tapes give the Music Tapes' first album First Imaginary Symphony for Nomad a heavily distressed and textured sound that becomes poignant on songs like "Aliens," which boasts an arrangement that includes guitar, theremin, French horn, tambourine, and several layers of evocative fuzz. The Elephant Six Orchestra is also used well on "What the Single Made the Needle Sing" and "The Clapping Hands." While the nasal, off-key singing on most of the songs distracts from the fragile beauty of the music (especially on "Song of the Nomad Lost" and "An Orchistration's Overture"), First Imaginary Symphony for Nomad is a warts-and-all record, giving equal time to successful and not-so successful musical experiments.

Customer Reviews

Do yourself a favor...

Do yourself a favor, go to your local independent record store, or the label's website, or anywhere else, and order the hardcopy of this. It comes with a broadsheet of cartoons and a newspaper article, each on relating to song. A popup collage is also included. Everything about this albumn is greeat, from the sound collage and bedroom recording feel, to the artwork. If iTunes is your only option of procurment, then by all means. But if you can get it any other way, do so.

Strange, old-world charm

VERY strange music, only for the open ear and open minded person. If you do get into it, however, you get a new, rich, sublime experience. Sometimes this album feels like an eerie dream where you are taken back in time, and sometimes it feels like the strange future on a different planet. More than an album of music, an album of experience.

perfect

this album as quickly come one of my favorites. a great addition to elephant 6. at first listen it might be unaccessable, but give it time. its creepiness will soon dawn on you. over all its just a great album that employs a great amount of maturity and creativity while still being charmingly childish.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Though the Music Tapes are seen primarily as a spinoff from the Elephant 6 music collective, which includes bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, the Olivia Tremor Control, and the Apples in Stereo, they began as the brainchild of Julian Koster. As a 16-year-old, Koster conceived of his early recordings, like the "Silly Putty Symphony" as a surreal soundworld to escape into and share with friends. This motivation also fueled Koster's band at the time, Chocolate U.S.A., which eventually evolved into the...
Full Bio