Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Transrecords
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient
As the esteemed visionary, songwriter and curator of many moods for 17 years with Death Cab For Cutie, Chris Walla has achieved a certain respect. As an artist seemingly unwilling to reside within a niche foisted upon him by unforgiving media, the revolutionary days of the last gasps of Seattle’s chokehold on popular music, or to bow to the typical style-vision a “solo career” should best adhere to, Walla is unique. His second full-length ought to be resounding proof enough of that, as Walla’s meditative Tape Loops is about as removed from the salad days of the DCFC heyday as is possible.
After leaving Death Cab for Cutie last year, multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Walla has kept a relatively low profile. Having relocated to arctic Norway, he has now recorded a second solo album (his first, entitled Field Manual, was released in 2008).Walla largely lets the music speak for itself on Tape Loops, the soaring instrumentation devoid of vocals. Literally splicing loops together has allowed Walla to interact with his music and recording in a way that has been long abandoned by most.
For his first solo recording since departing from Death Cab for Cutie in 2014, producer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Walla created an album of calm, sparse ambient pieces appropriately titled Tape Loops. This might come as a surprise to fans of his former band, or groups that he's worked with such as Tegan and Sara or the Decemberists, or even his 2008 solo album Field Manual, but he's had such a major impact in shaping Death Cab's sound that it seems natural for him to shift his focus to creating atmosphere rather than songwriting. It's also in line with his budding career as a composer of film scores.
Chris Walla says plenty by saying nothing on Tape Loops. His second solo record and first since a public departure from Death Cab for Cutie, his latest release offers an ambient, instrumental collection of manipulated analog tape. Markedly unlike his first solo effort, Field Manual, Tape Loops centers on absence. It’s lyrically empty and laconic by design, to the point where the spaces between sounds become sounds themselves.
When Chris Walla took leave of Death Cab For Cutie in August of last year, he offered little explanation, hinting at the fact that he had more adventurous ambitions. Regardless, the timing of his departure seemed particularly curious considering the fact that the band had finally succeeded in reaching its wider audience. However it was apparent that he had a restless spirit, given recent collaborations with the likes of The Lonely Forest, William Fitzsimmons, and Rocky Votolato, among others.