Music Tapes – Mary’s Voice

January 01, 1970



There are a few
bands that create music unmarked by the time in which it was created. It is
music born of forms ingrained in our consciousness that are startlingly fresh
when interpreted in a modern context. This is the sound of The Music Tapes:
music that transports – not backward or forward, just away.


Mary’s Voice is both a follow-up to their 2008 Merge
Records debut and the first part of a two-part album. It also is the sound of
Julian Koster in full command of his conceptual
voice. From the opening dirge of “The Dark is Singing Songs (Sleepy Time Down
South),” Koster’s singing voice cranes above the banjo strums and brass swells,
starting the listener on a swooning journey of sudden peaks and haunting lulls.
The tension of “Spare the Dark Streets,” for example, with its sparse
instrumentation of rapidly bowed strings, flows into the jaunty banjo-led march
of “To All Who Say Goodnight,” which itself spirals into a swirling drone
before Koster resumes his cathartic banjo strums. The album’s slow build
crescendos with the crashing, percussive, “Evening,” before slowing down once
more, stretching further onward to the album’s close.


With each
listen, the songs on Mary’s Voice begin to blend into one continuous thought, with brief digressions and asides,
and, ironically, its inherent oddness starts to transition into an interesting
familiarity. The Music Tapes may not just exist on another plane; they may have
created a different one entirely.  


DOWNLOAD: “Evening,” “To All Who Say Goodnight” NICK

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