Petter Lindhagen has made what he calls his mid-life crisis album, and it feels like one of the more heartbreaking albums I have heard in a while. Adhering to his band’s name, which was taken from the band Smog, Tired Tape Machine is a haunting metamorphosis.
On Lindhagen’s 30th birthday, he holed himself up inside a remote cabin by himself to churn out a minimalist guitar construction that became the beginnings of a three-year relationship with Not Here. What resulted was this masterpiece.
For one person to construct an album like this, Lindhagen is a genius. What feels effortless, flawless, the songs that intertwine illuminates a soft hue of enchantment, mystery, and atonement. What helps is that for the first time, Lindhagen lends his voice, like the ghosts of the reformation, in religious tones and meditations on morality.
“Bury” is anything but minimal. The song is the soundtrack to standing on the edge of the abyss. Maybe it’s the soundtrack to your impending doom in your current physical form. What begins as simplistic minimally elegant. It’s a sobering reality like standing in an empty room after everything has been moved out. What follows are layers of strings and chanting that fuel the song’s mystique with a glorious realization that as hard as it is to take, this may be one of the best things you will listen to in a while.
The album bounces between delicate guitar melodies and soft piano meanderings. The album waxes and wanes eloquently between intimacy and exposure. The ensemble part of “Leaving” is distinguished yet moody in context. It’s the feeling you get when you put on evening wear for that rare occasion that could be to celebrate or mourn. The suit serves both purposes, and it’s up to you to determine which side of the coin you interpret things. Lindhagen does give us a push more so in one direction.
Through harmony, you get a feeling of familiarity as he travels through “Leaving” and “Sisyphus,” the vocals still maintain the limelight of the songs as they are so delightful in the way Dead Can Dance is delightful.