My formative years were spent in rural areas, so I have a soft spot for all things rural. That includes Rural Tapes and Rural Alberta Advantage, two bands with new albums that are getting some air time in my office.
Besides the word rural, there are some similarities to these two musical entities; Rural Tapes and Rural Alberta Advantage.
The Scandinavian connection, Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen is a Norwegian multi-instrumentalist, composer and the entity behind Rural Tapes. Nils Edenloff, the frontman in Rural Alberta Advantage, has a name that sounds Scandanavian. I didn’t dig up his family tree to find where the roots came from but it sounds like it would be at home in the Baltic.
The Rise, the new album from Rural Alberta Advantage, has six songs. Outtakes from Rural Tapes has eight tracks. The number of tracks on each album is one digit away from the lucky number seven. Coincidence? I think not! Plus, if you add the track totals, 6+8=14. 14 is 7 times two. That number seven again! There is 43 minutes of playing time when the two albums are added together, four plus three equals seven, spooky isn’t it. Enough of that nonsense.
As to the music on these newly crafted albums, Outtakes and The Rise, I will let the artists speak for themselves and then attempt to tie it all together at the end.
Arne Kjelsrud Mathisen – “This is a collection of experiments, songs, reworks and field recordings that were recorded during the same period as Rural Tapes L.P., and which I think deserved to be released. Right now, I am recording a brand new Rural Tapes album scheduled for release this fall, and I wanted to start this process with blank sheets. That way, the release of Outtakes is a great way to “clean out the closet” before starting on the new album.”
Discussing this first installment of new music and The RAA’s return, Nils Edenloff notes, “We just go only based on heart and gut and try to let our minds get out of the way, because more often than not those just trip us up.” Cole adds, “We’re so intrigued by the idea of different perspectives and memories in these songs, and then this ultimate view of ‘Is any of it anything? The past two years have upended all that we thought to be concrete. The Rise, like this period, is a complication of what we assume to be familiar and true and unchanging. It’s the start of something new.”
The Rise is the beginning of a new era for RAA. It is the first of three separate releases. “We’re so intrigued by the idea of different perspectives and memories in these songs, and then this ultimate view of ‘Is any of it anything?'” says Amy Cole, keyboards, bass, percussion and vocals. “The harder you stare at something, the more interesting it gets,” says Paul Banwatt, who plays percussion, “even something that seems really mundane.”
These two albums are far from mundane; they are a breath of fresh air as we throw open our doors and welcome spring into our homes after a long winter. The songs take us from the melancholy of Late September Snow by Rural Alberta Advantage to the equally melancholic piano on the starkly beautiful Melody For Sinking Ships by Rural Tapes.
I found it fascinating how these two recordings worked their way through my being and left me smiling at the result, a warm place on a cold Good Friday. Check them out
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Rural Alberta Advantage:
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