Though his roots are indeed in IDM and post-rock, if you can believe it while listening to this record, the primary person behind the music once began his career as a musician in a short-lived crossover / nu metal project. Given the dreamy IDM atmospheres and gentle breakbeat rhythms, its hard to fathom the journey from that distant corrosive land of music to this one of electronic sophistication. Tapage, French for noise, has long been the solo project of the aforementioned, Tijs Ham, whom currently makes his home on towards the Western edge of Holland in Hilversum, a city nearly surrounded by water and resting just South of Lake Markermeer. Paired with these waters are not just expansive wildlands but also a deep history that stretches back all the way to the early Bronze age circa 1200 BCE. These influences, though perhaps not conscious on behalf of the artist, seems to contribute to the atmosphere that Tapage crafts on an ethereal height. Though his career has largely been spent on Tympanik Audio up to this point, Tapage has had a soft spot for collaborations that have often landed him releasing through other labels including Meta0, Silent Flow, and Bionic Recordings. The artist has also released a great deal of music in the digital format lately, including “Seven” on Raumklang Music, “Irukandji” on Metao, and, as of this year, a host of new releases on his own netlabel Tapeface that offers a new release with every new moon.
Describing his music as “ambient industrial”, the music of Tapage indeed takes on the qualities that any educated electronic musician may perceive by this definition. With the ancient forests, meadows, heathland and waterways that surround Hams in Hilversum, it’s no wonder that his music consists of the misty beauty and often gloomy atmosphere that would accompany the foggy evenings experienced around the city’s surrounding lands and creating this expressive ambiance within, as well as the edginess of beats that represent the creeping urban sprawl. The influence of projects like Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin are obvious at first listen, but eventually subtle emotive whispers populate the crystalline melodic processions that hint at influences from the likes of fellow Tympanik Audio musician Stendeck. Many lovers of IDM may not find a great deal new in Tapage’s music to fall in love with as many rhythms and electronic experimentations are not as complex as other artists on the Tympanik Audio roster, but it’s the dreary ambient side of Tapage that brings out the special qualities in the music. Modest piercing drones weave around each other, spiraling harmoniously in a purling drift. Melodies can manifest themselves as everything from deep distorted sounds to electronic experimentation and straight-forward melodic lines as played from bells and other deeply processed sounds that somehow remind of other artists from the minimal style of Icelandic musicians.
There also seems to be a definitive sense of “memory” and reflection on this record. After all, most ethereal qualities seem to evoke that sort of symbolism, but this time it’s made much deeper by the retro look of the album artwork that seems to feature several views of the same resort. The simple dedication to Ham’s father amongst a package mostly devoid of information or text only increases these sensibilities and adds a little more of an emotive quality to the music, though it doesn’t make itself known in a blunt manner. It certainly seems like those whom are fans of overtly surreal, drifting, melodic electronic music will be won over by “Overgrown” while the fans of the rhythmic side of industrial will probably be let down to some degree by the lack of any harshness and the presence of only a moderate amount of complexity.
03) Pink Mist
09) Mortuary Beef