Album Reviews

Fading Tapes: Cartographer – “haunting compositions”

The Polish duo return in 2021 with their finest LP yet.

Founded in 2014, Fading Tapes are Polish duo, Krzysztof Siwkowski (guitar), and Marcin Lasek (percussion).

Since their inception, Fading Tapes have churned out a steady flow of sounds and following their last long-player, 2018’s Northern Constellation, they bring us Cartographer.

Opener, East Valley, starts off with multi-layered timbres that echo Liverpool’s very own Ex-Easter Island Head. Fading Tapes morph these ideas together with a sequence of glacial, cinematic feedback that the likes of The Drift produced later in their career. It’s the kind of composition that unfurls like fog along the frozen river banks.

Speaking of The Drift, Bones takes its cue from the finest moments of Tarentel‘s Steede Bonnet, stretching and bending sounds into new shapes and sizes in what is the most captivating moment on Cartographer.

Fading Tapes fail to capture the same intensity during the back end of Cartographer; not that this is a slight by any means. Such as a the nature of its beginning, and it was always going to be a tough ask to maintain such high standards.  

Fading Tapes - Cartographer

Which leads us into Boats; a juncture on Cartographer that leads us into more of a ambient meditative zone to lose yourself in. Closing piece, Dry Red Land, is a meandering affair, producing the kind of autumnal grainy painting imagery of Siwkowski and Lasek‘s native Poland.

In all, Cartographer is four lengthy composition that crystallise a new form of post-rock.

Let’s be honest, post-rock, as we know it, has become somewhat stale over the past 10 years, however 2021 has seen a timely renaissance. Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Fly Pan Am have released fantastic albums, while new comers, Moin have pushed the genre into new terrains.

With Cartographer, Fading Tapes‘ haunting compositions can be included in what is turning out to be a strong year indeed for experimental music.

Cartographer is out now via Panurus Productions. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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