LadyDot Review: Tape Five – Big Blue Swing (EP)

Balance and minimalism – everything we expect from
Electro Swing! Tape Five EP review – “Big Blue Swing”

After a short two-week break I am back to you with redoubled strength. This incredible power is of course drawn from music, which constantly surprises and fascinates me. Today I’ll tell you about one of my favourite Electro Swing artists, the German producer Tape Five. My adventure with his music started a few years ago.

I remember all those parties where my friends were having a great time at “Bad Boy Good Man” and “Geraldines Routine”. Since then he’s released loads of great EPs and a couple of albums. In April we enjoyed the excellent sounds of classic swing from the ‘Vintage FM’ EP. As usual, Tape Five has prepared for us another 4 new songs at an express pace – this time in an Electro Swing vibe. They landed on the “Big Blue Swing” EP, which I will gladly review for you.

“Big Blue Swing”

The intro of this song promises to be really great – it sounds a bit like the beginning of the stanza of “Bad Boy Good Man”, so it blends well with previous compositions from Tape Five. Be sure to listen to the fantastic bass complemented by energetic drum beats that make this song so incredibly rhythmic. Tape Five often rely on minimalism in their compositions, which is why they are so easy on the ears. After listening to “Big Blue Swing” a few times I can’t stop humming this tune to myself.

This is probably due to the subtle sound of the clarinet, which appears every now and then in this track, to treat us to a really crazy solo at the end! Notice that there are no other instruments from the brass section here. This sparing use of different sounds really paid off in this case – thanks to “Big Blue Swing” you will be expressly transported to the crazy 1920s!

“Tommy Gun Shuffle”

As you know, it’s hard to pick a favorite song out of several really great recordings. My husband and I listen to all the songs carefully before writing a review. It’s great because Michał (that’s the name of the guy I mention so often :)) suggests to me what is worth paying attention to. This time it was “Tommy Gun Shuffle” that stole his heart. Why? Just listen to the exquisite swinging clarinet sound, fantastic choruses and this brilliant vibe that just encourages us to dance. While listening to this song, rhythmical swaying is advisable!

And of course I can’t forget about the great vocalist. Interesting fact: only today I found out that Henrik Wager is responsible for vocals. This guy really does an excellent job! His old-school voice is a great complement to what Tape Five has been creating for many years now. I would be tempted to say that the gentlemen complement each other’s talents perfectly.

“Backdoor Strut”

This is undoubtedly the most Electro Swing track from the whole “Big Blue Swing” EP. There are plenty of electronic elements here. Tape Five in “Backdoor Strut” willingly uses everything that is simply the best in this musical genre. In this composition you will find old-school samples and brilliant mixing of instruments such as drums, saxophone and clarinet. Exactly… you will surely wonder why “Backdoor Strut” is so rhythmic. When you listen to the energetic sound of the drums, you won’t have any doubts. There is no monotony here as the instruments intertwine brilliantly with each other. You fall in love with the saxophone solo, only to be carried away by the sonorous melody coming straight from the clarinet. A truly brilliant instrumental track that will make the perfect introduction to your Electro Swing party!

“Geraldines Stomp Routine”

When I saw the title of this track, I was worried that it would be another remix of the iconic “Geraldines Routine”. After all, Tape Five has already created several reworkings of this song (one remix was also developed by the great French duo Bart & Baker)! I was wondering if it would be possible to make something fresh out of it, which would not bore the listeners. Well, yes! Just add some strong disco mixes, “stomp” on the bass drum, use the best samples from the original track and you’re done! Surely each of us knows this fragment perfectly: “Wave those palms in the air, spin around like Fred Astair, slip me five and we can jive, that’s Geraldines routine”. Now you can sing it together with Henrik in this new, fantastically mixed version.

Summary – what else will Tape Five surprise us with?

The fact that Tape Five is already a cult representative of the Electro Swing genre does not need to be explained or proved to anyone – we all know it! We can only start wondering what he will prepare for us next time. Some may think that the songs will be similar to those that came before. For me, the Big Blue Swing EP is just something that fully satisfies me.  What do we expect from Tape Five? New swing and Electro Swing songs. And every now and then he just delivers them to us. I’m very, very happy that he is faithful to this musical genre – after all he is one of its precursors. Every song on the “Big Blue Swing” EP proves to us that it is a swing that constantly plays in his heart. I’m sure you can feel it too.

Written & reviewed by  LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2022-01-20

Bio – LadyDot

Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing.

On her own Blog www.jawizeruk.pl she writes about various music genres. She is a copywriter, so writing is her strong point. Anna likes singing (not only in the shower!) and cooking (especially Italian and Hungarian cuisine).

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