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review from indieducky.com:
It’s bittersweet to dare call Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes a denouement for the Elephant Six era, but the album’s last song, In an Ice Palace tends to eulogize the movement in strict and stark melodies resembling the finality of such whimsy and heat-stroked psychedelia. Though the record has been billed as the closest sequel to Neutral Milk Hotel’s long, lamented (and much discussed) In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, it is evident that nothing—even a record as consuming as the Music Tape’s decade-later sophomore effort—should be plagued with such pressure. In retrospect, Julian Koster was the collective’s mad scientist; he introduced the singing saw, the practice of recording on ultra-vintage equipment and the childlike aesthetic distractions (this one comes packaged with a kitschy pop-out construction) that made the E6 an almost mythical existence.
The Music TapesHe was the one always following a narrative and an unattainable, distant muse. Here it’s the saga of a personified tornado, a reindeer, a choir of singing saws (which are prominent in the ethereal, yet old-timey, interludes), and various humans who inhabit his tiny world. In the context of the turn-of-the century nostalgia—and the nostalgia of Athens circa 1997—it sounds all too familiar. Yet moments like Majesty, which includes an orchestra of E6 alum (Will Hart, John Fernandes, Scott Spillane, Laura Carter are all credited), radiates the communal warmth felt in the wild layers of Olivia Tremor Control or Elf Power. Most of Clouds and Tornados, though, is Koster alone with his banjo, straining his voice for maximum emotion and by circumstance draining that emotion from the listener. While certainly not what many have been hoping for (the return of Mangum), it’s indicative of what that cherished epoch in Georgia represented, as each musician had their own niche even when they all worked on the same tapestry.
Koster’s is ineffably coaxing life out of inanimate objects and re-imagining our childhood storybooks to song. And here, despite modern quiescence, he’s made a timeless folk record with just enough ebullience to link him to his past.