Taper’s Choice seem to be getting press in two distinct circles, pulling in higher profile praise from Relix and Rolling Stone while courting the JamBase crowd and haunting Archive with a few sprawling sets already canonized as the next great thing. Comprised of some rather familiar names — Dave Harrington (Darkside), drummer Chris Tomson (Vampire Weekend), bassist Alex Bleeker (Real Estate), and keyboardist Zach Tenorio (Arc Iris) — the band has set out to stake their reputation in the live setting, as their moniker might suggest. Indeed, recorded versions of the band’s stage fodder were hard to come by, with merch stand copies of a tape labeled Choice Tapes Vol. 1 floating about, but seldom heard if you weren’t on the coasts with a line on Gold Diggers or The Sultan Room. Now, though, for the rest of us moored away from NYC and L.A. there’s a bit to bite into with the Bandcamp release of not only Vol. 1, but Choice Tapes Vol. 2 landing this week.
Both tapes cull from the the aura emanating from their live aesthetic, settling some of their material onto reels that reach further from the stage. Those familiar with what Harrington has done with Chris Forsyth might have some inkling of how the setup goes here. The forward-thinking approach remains, though the dub scrub is a lot lighter than he’s done in the past. Instead both tapes take the band’s longform grooves through a collaged prism, creating four seamless sides of heady burble and thrum with some occasional knockouts for simmering radiosonic build. The tapes are a compliment to their live sets, an equally immersive experience that warrants the advance praise that’s tied to their tributary tethers more than a longstanding legacy. I’m definitely interested to see where the band goes and how this approach to live vs. recorded visions plays out. For now, I’ve got these on repeat.
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