Ex-Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla details new solo release

photo: Dianna Walla

Chris Walla, formerly the guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie, has announced his first solo release since departing the long-running indie rock band a year ago. Tape Loops will be released Oct. 16 on Walla’s own Trans Records.

Walla elaborated on the unconventional process that went into the five-song Tape Loops, a record whose title is, actually, literal.

“I can’t change a closed, physical tape loop with a mouse-click or a keystroke, and that’s precisely the point,” Walla said. “Digital recording and editing often feels like working in a spreadsheet — it’s not always a place for dreams.”

Tape Loops, then, is an experiment in analog recording, one that ditches “the specificity of narrative songwriting in favor of immersive aural topographies,” according to a recent statement. The record is also entirely instrumental.

Walla debuted his new solo material at Interview Magazine. The site also features a transcribed conversation between Walla and Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara (who have had past records produced by Walla), and the two of them spoke in detail about Walla’s dissatisfaction with Death Cab for Cutie’s most recent output and the techniques that inspired Tape Loops.

“Kanta’s Theme,” the lead track from Tape Loops, is composed mostly of slow, reverberating piano, and it hints at Walla’s interest in feature film scoring. It doesn’t, however, sound anything like Death Cab for Cutie. Stream the song below.

Walla released his first solo album, Field Manual, in 2008. Death Cab for Cutie released Kintsugi, Walla’s final album with the band, earlier this year.