Classic. What defines something as classic? Perhaps it’s a thing totally symbolic and representative of a specific feeling or era. Just as the LP, and eight-track machine are the classic artifacts of recorded music for generations past, and likely the iPod and similar devices will be remembered in the future; when I imagine recorded music I think of a plain old cassette tape. I was delighted to receive one to review.
Terror’ish, AKA Rob Beckham, has not only submitted a classic format, but has paid homage to the classic feel of Motown and ’70s funk. But lest you think this all is a gimmick . . . uhh . . . I admit that it probably is. It does not however, play upon nostalgia and theatrics. This is legitimate experimentation with fantastic results. If the claims of Mr. Beckham’s press release are true, these tracks were recorded himself, totally improvised in two or three takes each on instruments which he may or may not be expert in playing, all done through an open air computer microphone. It’s a tall order. Or it may be a short one. The recombination of classic elements into a contemporary lo-fi, hi-tech approach is interesting to say the least. There’s more here, though.
I admit experimental electronica and breakbeat music are a little beyond my experience. So what can I say about an artist who has released cassette after glitchy cassette? It’s really the highest compliment I can give, it was fun and I passed it along to my friends. Wasn’t that what forged the staying power of the cassette as a format? Before digital rights management, before downloading fiascos, Napster, and Lars Ulrich, we made tapes. If we particularly enjoyed music, we made a tape and passed it along. And that little artifact, a plastic ark of the covenant with magnetic ambrosia inside was a champion of musical egalitarianism and a symbol of a friend’s regard for you and the time the artist spent lovingly composing the sounds that your friend had to then dub in real time to share the love with you. Thanks Terror’ish.