Strategic Tape Reserve cassette and download
Given that ‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ is issued by Strategic Tape Reserve, a label that has previously released albums of Psychedelic Death Schlager from Lower Saxony, soundtracks to synchronized mass-calisthenics tournaments in western Germany and music to accompany the sport of Nordic Walking, one may want to sprinkle any claims to sonic authenticity on the parts of this tape’s creators with several kilos of the finest sea salt.
And, if you’re expecting an album of traditional Hawaiian mele or faithful renditions of slack-key guitar jams, you’re going to be disappointed. Far better to switch off your ethnographic purism altogether and imbibe ‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ as an aural safari to an imaginary island paradise, a lucid dream created by necking a massive lump of Stilton while speed reading David Toop’s ‘Exotica’ on Blackpool Pier.
The predominant mode of ‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ is bucolic, dreamy electronica, with slow drifts of synth propelled by gently, clonking percussion. Underneath it all is the familiar bustle and hiss of field recording, although given the ersatz nature of everything on offer here, I suspect texture trumps veracity. Lovely stuff, in any case, with the simple, almost homemade feel of tracks such as ‘Honolulu Touchdown’ recalling Graeme Miller & Steve Shill’s wonderful Moomins soundtrack. The tinny piano yammers and melodic stylophone doodles of ‘Weather Patterns’, meanwhile, evoke the choppy ‘90s head nodders of Plaid, albeit with the sharper edges sandpapered off. My favourite is ‘Tuesday Night Menagerie’, whose subtle, interlocking chimes and woozy bamboo flute lines as ingenious as they are beguiling.
‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ is so well put together that it comes as no surprise to learn that this ain’t The Tuesday Night Machines’ first rodeo. A quick glance at their website reveals a treasure trove of synth goodies, with modular gubbins featuring strongly. Their previous outing for Strategic Tape Reserve, the chiptune eruptions of ‘Super Dolomiti Crunch‘ is also highly recommended (not to mention a predictably goofy backstory). But for the moment, take a minute to let the slow languour of ‘Hawaiian Yurt Music’ warm your bones and calm your brain. Rock-a-hula, baby.