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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

These Carbon​-​Composite Poles Are Made For Walkin'

Strategic Tape Reserve, the increasingly prolific tape label out of Cologne Germany, just released their first compilation titled “These Carbon Composite Poles are Made for Walking.” As you might guess if you’re familiar with STR’s catalogue, there is a thematic concept as well as a sense of humor to the release. According to the press release, the comp is “the first and only cassette scene compilation designed specifically to enhance the Nordic-Walking experience.” What is Nordic-Walking? Apparently, it started in Finland as an off season activity for cross country skiers in which one walks at a steady pace with poles, and has since become a popular exercise for older folks in northern Europe. It is also the first release from STR’s new sports-music subsidiary “Strategic Tape Reserve ACTIVE,” and includes a logo stamped sweatband with every cassette purchase designed to “reduce sweat-related injuries by up to 15%.”

The comp is an eclectic mix of different thematic interpretations. In the spirit of what might be called “avant-jock jams,” some artists stuck to the practical task of creating interesting music with a pulse that might inspire the listener to just keep on moving, like “Brisk pace Bilbao” by The Tuesday Night Machines, or “Ninepointsevennine” by Cyfrif Iâ Dur. Though the comp is eclectic, many of the tracks seem to have an electronic tilt to them. The tenth track, Theme from Göttinger Wanderverein e.V., is perhaps the most compelling in that regard. Although it doesn’t have a beat per se, the weird synth improve has a definite, steady, underlying rhythm that one can imagine walking to (if not actually walk to). The Blank Holidays change up the pace a bit (so to speak) with their lo-fi acoustic interpretation, “Lost Dogs.” And spaced throughout the album there are “six interludes featuring Nordic-Walking experts and celebrities offering tips, commentary and philosophical asides” in Swedish and usually creepily warped.

You can listen to the comp as well as purchase your twofer cassette-sweatband on STR’s Bandcamp page.

Matt Ackerman

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