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  • David Bentley

Introducing... Rural Tapes (Norway): Pardon My French (debut single)

Rural Tapes is the moniker of Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen, who has been the founding member in a number of bands such as I Was a King (Anne Lise Frøkedal of course, who we recently featured), Heroes & Zero as well as the bi-continental collective The No Ones with R.E.M members Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck.

‘Pardon My French’ features guest appearances from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and saxophonist Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits). It is the first taster from Arne’s debut album, out in April via Smuggler Music.

The music of his first ever solo material has long been in the making, first inspired when he moved from Oslo to the countryside in 2014. The rural settings have helped mould the sounds that he mastered during his time spent within the comparatively chaotic lifestyle of the city.

Lord knows just what he found there to encourage this. It’s a fascinating piece, only four and a half minutes long but like a little alt-rock symphony, a journey drawing inspiration from many sources, tres avant-garde (pardon my French), jazzy, with mysterious synth sounds you’d associate with a sci-fi film as the credits roll, and a melange of instruments including a sax suddenly entering the mix along with strange, ethereal voices.

The sort of music you might associate with the weird and wacky cinematic world of, say. Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, or ‘Being John Malkovich.’

There’s so much going on it all gets a bit too much as it careers like an out of control juggernaut towards a climax which remains tantalisingly over the hill and never quite arrives. There are multiple instruments and an analogue recording while on the album Mathisen plays drums, drum machines, clavier, synthesizers, vocals, string instruments, some tuba and horns, which doesn’t leave much that he doesn’t play.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the album was only available on vinyl, he’s in that zone. Definitely a collector’s piece but one which won’t disappoint judging from this track.

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