Die 20 besten Tapes des Jahres 2022

01.12.2022
Das Tape ist zurück und Medium der Wahl, wenn Musik schnell und preiswert als physischer Tonträger unter die Menschen gebracht werden soll. Wir haben mal 20 Stück aus diesem Jahr ausgesucht.

Die Vinylpressen ächzen, das Magnetband aber läuft weiter. Noch zumindest ist die Kassette das Medium für alle, die Bock auf kurzes Turnaround und kleine Preise haben. Wobei natürlich auch die Produktion von Tapes so langsam ins Stottern gerät, weil die großen Player – was geht, Taylor Swift!? – verstanden haben, dass die Gewinnmargen erfreulich ausfallen, wenn der Preis nur hoch genug geregelt wird. Der Käuferschaft ist’s ja egal, die stellt’s ins Regal und streamt das Ding auf Spotify durch. Brrrr.

Wir lassen uns davon nicht beirren und schieben weiterhin eine Spule nach der nächsten in den Warenkorb beziehungsweise Walkman oder Boombox. Weil mittlerweile viele Labels und Artists auf das Tape ausgewichen sind, gibt es schließlich mehr zu hören denn je. Die Kassette ist noch lange nicht tot, der Markt noch nicht übersättigt und das Rauschen im Hintergrund gehört eben dazu. Labels wie Death Is Not the End, Hausu Mountain, Leaving, Not Not Fun, Paralaxe und Umor Rex etwa sind schon seit langem Kassettentäter:innen aus Überzeugung und bieten weiterhin zwischen tiefschürfender Archivfledderei, Drone oder Ambient und von der cutting edge aus produzierte Electronica ganze musikalische Welten auf zwei Seiten.

Das zeigt sich auch mit Blick auf die folgende Jahresendliste. Mor Elian kehrte im Jahr 2022 als Alloy Sea zurück, Andrew Bernstein türmte Saxofon-Drones übereinander, Concepción Huerta reiste mit dem Synthesizer durchs All und Cucina Povera machte mit Ben Vince gemeinsame Sache – und und und. Dazu gesellen sich unter den besten 20 Tapes des Jahres mit Alben von Best Available Technology oder Duktus aber genauso clubbige Sounds wie auch Rock, so richtig mit Gitarre-Schlagzeug-Bass-Besetzung, von der Isolationsgemeinschaft oder Lacing. Das sind doch gute Aussichten. Die hatten in diesem Jahr allemal Seltenheitswert. Kristoffer Cornils

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Alloy Sea (Mor Elian)
Xoomin (2022)
Paralaxe • 2022 • from 15.99€

Mor Elian released her debut as Alloy Sea in 2020, and at first it was easy to dismiss »Petrichor« as the kind of auditory sedative that so many club music producers indulged in during the pandemic, but the follow-up now proves once and for all that it was more than just a lockdown ambient record. »Xoomin« brings together thick textures and rhythmic clatter, combining the best of the two musical worlds through which the avant-dance producer regularly travels. The discreet yet eerie use of vocals adds an even more haunting component. We could call this IDMbient, perhaps, but overall it’s difficult to pin down stylistically. Which, as we all know, is always a bonus.

Kristoffer Cornils
Andrew Bernstein
A Presentation (2022)
Hausu Mountain • 2022 • from 14.99€

The principle of Just Intonation has been the hot shit in the field of avant-garde music for a few years now, and that's only understandable: not only does it allow us to break with common tonal conventions, but also to turn away from an all-too-Western understanding of music. Andrew Bernstein transposes it to the saxophone, which in itself is not an easy feat, and even creates layers and layers out of his own playing. What reads complicated sounds like a veritable mindfuck, psychoacoustic spectral drones. »A Presentation« feels like that one scene from »Lost Highway« in which the camera suddenly pans around the corner stretched out to almost forty minutes. Ugh. Awesome.

Kristoffer Cornils
Best Available Technology
Fixing Until Broke (2022)
Accidental Meetings • 2022 • from 12.99€

Kevin Palmer has offered musical yoga retreats on labels like Opal Tapes, 12th Isle or blundar. The Oregon-based producers knows how to make his way between construction site noise and waiting room soundtracks. For Accidental Meetings, Best Available Technology slips into white hotel slippers, stuffs three pillows into the kick drum and has his belly stroked. »Fixing Until Broke« draws on slo-mo repetition and feels like an extended weekend at a five-star spa.

Christoph Benkeser
Concepcion Huerta
Harmonies From Betelqeuse (2022)
Umor-Rex • 2022 • from 13.99€

Music from other spheres, that’s the eternal promise of cosmically inspired ambient music and it is once again filtered through the equipment park of Concepción Huerta on her »Harmonies from Betelqeuse.« The eight pieces on her debut for Umor Rex distil stardust into up-and-down surging sound textures, make gravitational waves oscillate and black holes freeze. If Thomas Köner were to visit the ISS, he would probably come back with comparable sounds. The highlight of this album, however, is that the Mexican didn't even have to leave her home base for it. Why travel through outer space when the home studio offers such possibilities?

Kristoffer Cornils
Cucina Povera & Ben Vince
There I See Everything (2022)
Ecstatic • 2022 • from 15.99€

Rule number one: anything by Cucina Povera is always worth your time. Rule number two: anything involving Ben Vince is always worth your time. Accordingly, »There I See Everything« is an absolute no-brainer and at the same time a psychogeographical map of London for all those who have never been there or at least haven't experienced the city through the eyes and ears of a newcomer like Maria Rossi for a long time. She contributes her trademark vocal loops to this one, while Vince complements it all with saxophone, disklavier and synthesizers. The result is, well, worth your time times two.

Kristoffer Cornils
Duktus
Funky Reflections Volume 2 (2022)
Blaq Numbers • 2022 • from 9.99€

»Alcohol and psychotropic drugs« was the Austrian Chancellor's answer to the question what people will need this winter. The good man has completely forgotten that Blaq Numbers has already filled the good vibe storage in the first half of the year. The Thuringian label is a safe house for warm grooves and let Duktus spin the disco ball for this. Blaq regulars nodded knowingly because they instantly saw the Leipzig producer will keep them warm in cold, cold times.

Christoph Benkeser
Isolationsgemeinschaft
Der Tanz Geht Weiter (2022)
Phantom • 2022 • from 6.99€

No more Isolation (in) Berlin—the dance goes on! Dittmann and Gasser, the two members of the Isolationsgemeinschaft, don't associate brutalism with a punch in the stomach and their new record for Phantom is so chic that they will get everyone moving, especially those who’ve had it with appeals to resilience. Dust off your dancing shoes, »Der Tanz geht weiter!«

Christoph Benkeser
Julia Reidy / Morten Joh
Tape Shadow (2022)
Futura Resistenza • 2022 • from 14.99€

What Julia Reidy is currently doing with the guitar is nothing less than revolutionary. On »Tape Shadow,« the instrument plays a central role on two of the four pieces, while on the other two Morton Joh takes the lead with tape delay, vibraphone and synthesizers. All in all, this results in a collaboration album on which two musicians are in perfect harmony with each other and yet can play to their respective strengths to the full. A rare feat. This is psychedelic, at times almost psychotic music, claustrophobically dense in places and yet infinitely wide and open.

Kristoffer Cornils
Lacing
Never (2022)
Bummer/Candlepin • 2022 • from 13.99€

Lacing come 35 years too late, but then again their take on shoegaze-souvlaki sounds hasn’t gone out of style. And this is a band that doesn't even pretend to be hot. With »Never,« the US group has released a tape on Candlepin that combines everything—insurmountable walls of guitars with sweat that is dripping from the ceiling and voices that no one understands because the reverb swallowed them whole. And enough riffs to make you feel like a 16-year-old again, of course. Christoph Benkeser

Christoph Benkeser
Malasso
Good, You're Here, It's Time (2022)
100% Silk • 2022 • from 12.99€

The radiator is cold, the stomach empty—oh, how we miss summer! All the better that Malasso, a producer from Malta, came up with ten tracks that feel like everlasting rays of sunshine. »Good, You're Here, It's Time« on 100% Silk is the equivalent of five layers under a heating mantle. After the third synth loop at the latest, you'll be glowing with a sense of coming to terms with the past, longing for a summertime sadness that you had thought was lost.

Christoph Benkeser
Marsha Fisher
Psychic Architecture (2022)
The Tapeworm • 2022 • from 12.99€

Marsha Fisher runs two labels with such incredible names as Activated Skeleton and Gay Hippie Vampire, releases music under the no less sonorous or unpronounceable pseudonyms Crustaceanation, Sea Hearse and, uh, 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 and is also active under their real name. That's already a lot, but their album »Psychic Architecture« for the ever-reliable British imprint The Tapeworm offers even more: Musique concrète, cut-up noise, tape music—call it what you will, it won't do justice to this sonic tour de force through different sounds and moods anyway. A difficult, challenging, that is to say outstanding album in every respect.

Kristoffer Cornils
Nikolajevtitle
Transplant Rejection (2022)
Muscut • 2022 • from 17.99€

The Estonian artist Nikolajev describes the music on »Transplant Rejection« as »almost dark ambient« and it is easy to understand why. From the first minutes, light melodies and streaky sound textures engage in a contradiction similar to those of magnets: Attraction and mutual repulsion alternate almost contingently, the mood tips from one moment to the next into the opposite and stabilises in the next but one again in the middle of these tension forces. Over only seven tracks, a musical panorama unfolds that functions as an atmospheric game of opposites.

Kristoffer Cornils
Parham Ghalamdar
Beautiful Apparitions (2022)
Death Is Not The End • 2022 • from 13.99€

The release of this mixtape was more than timely. When Iran erupted in nationwide protests after the murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini by the state's morality police, it represented the repressed underbelly of a country where music has a hard time under the thumb of the theocratic regime and therefore has all the more emancipatory potential. Parham Ghalamdar did little more than rip a few recordings of tipsy jam sessions from VHS tapes from the early noughties, but »Beautiful Apparitions« documents highly illegal gatherings, small private moments of resistance. It's an instructive compilation, historical and yet topical.

Kristoffer Cornils
Prison Religion
Hard Industrial Bop (2022)
UIQ • 2022 • from 14.99€

»For all those who miss Death Grips,« Arte once wrote about Prison Religion. That is, of course, bullshit. After all, the US duo produces machine-gun music that makes even violent wannabe gangsters like the Grips shit their pants out of sheer fear. »Hard Industrial B.O.P« was released on the London label UIQ and comes across like a horde of horror clowns on speed—absolutely overwhelming, and absolutely not for people with a Ritalin addiction. Christoph Benkeser

Christoph Benkeser
Richie Culver & Pavel Milyakov
A Change Of Nothing (2022)
Participant • 2022 • from 14.99€

Richie Culver's art consists mainly of smearing nonsense like »I didn't get into art school but I got into Berghain« on walls, canvases, or everyday objects and probably making a fucktonne of money with that. Well, good for him. For »A Change of Nothing,« he sent recordings to Pavel Milyakov, also known as Buttechno, who ran the spoken-word sketches and electronica bits through Max/MSP patches in order to distil them into a sort of bone-dry industrial that is sometimes reduced and understated, sometimes expansive and overwhelming. The tension between these two poles results in an exhilarating synthesis.

Kristoffer Cornils
Phonodelica
Hidden Assemblages (2022)
Deathcomb Arc • 2022 • from 17.99€

As on so many Deathbomb Arc releases, »Hidden Assemblages« is marked by a multitude of discourses while also speaking in very different musical formal languages. On the first part of a planned trilogy, Donia Jarrar processes her experiences as a person with a multi-hyphenated identity who accordingly finds it difficult to connect to white, heteronormative society. She uses more or less classical piano and orchestral music, spoken word and jazz, but arranges or rather assembles it all in an inimitable way. Phonodelica goes against the grain in every respect, with a consistency that stands out even in the Deathbomb Arc roster.

Kristoffer Cornils
Raiges Cano
Slum Cultural Heritage (2022)
Tapeheadcity • 2022 • from 12.99€

There are guys you could spend hours watching massage their machine. Raiges Cano is one of them. The producer belts out beats that make you sink deeply into your leather sofa, reach for a vodka and put on another nicotine patch. There's no question about it: if »Slum Cultural Heritage« doesn't make it into the chillout playlists, the algorithm has failed. In any case it’s good to know that Tapeheadcity has got it on tape for us.

Christoph Benkeser
Uwdar
Broken Planet (2022)
Superkasety • 2022 • from 14.99€

Millennials will cruise down memory lane with this tape. »Broken Planet« by Uwdar can pass as the unofficial soundtrack for afternoons when you had nothing else to do but crack your friends' Tony Hawk high scores or defend your own. Nostalgia seeps through every drum break. By the way: If you happen to be in Wrocław, the home base of the Superkasety label: Their parties are the shit!

Christoph Benkeser
V.C.R.
The Chronicals Of A Caterpillar: The Egg (2022)
Leaving • 2022 • from 14.99€

Once upon a time there was a singer who sang so beautifully that people travelled from all over the world to listen to her voice. Flowers began to bloom and men to cry when she opened her mouth. Others lay in each other's arms after the first note or hoped that the voice would never stop. The singer, who went by the name V.C.R., realised how much people appreciated her voice. So she released »The Chronicles of a Caterpillar: The Egg« a tape that people could take home and—if they didn't die—listen to while living happily ever after.

Christoph Benkeser
X.Y.R. - Aquarealm: Sub-Aquatic Compilation (2022)
Not Not Fun • 2022 • from 12.99€

If you go for ambient, go for the good stuff! X.Y.R., a producer with a fine nose for those incense vibes, straps on his scuba gear for a change. For Not Not Fun Records, he dives into the saltwater aquarium of the ambient tropics. The water glistens, the little fish bubble, you float through coral reefs and stroke Nemo. Deep-sea divers won't find any treasure on »Aquarealm,« but the tape provides enough input for deep-listening dreams in open waters!

Christoph Benkeser

Der Vinyl-Jahresrückblick 2022

Was waren die besten Schallplatten des Jahres?

Zum Webshop