X°=1 – The Art of K7 vol​​​.​​​#2

(Digital, 2024)

No.5249

GAJOOB Review by Bryan Baker, 4/7/2024:

In the realm of experimental music, few projects dare to dive as deep into the essence and nostalgia of cassette culture as X°=1’s latest release, “The Art of K7” vol.​​​#2. This digital album, a profound homage to the compact cassette medium, unfolds like an intricate tapestry woven from the very fabric of sound itself.

From the first moments, listeners are enveloped in a muffled blanket of magnesium oxide, where random audio snippets—voices, sounds, mechanical clicks, and clacks of Walkmans—create a collage that feels both familiar and disorientingly novel. This collection is not merely an album; it’s an auditory experiment that defies conventional music structures, opting instead for a form that can best be described as “strange broken fiction music.”

The conceptual underpinning of the album draws from a mathematical curiosity—the idea that any number raised to the power of zero equals one, with the exception of zero itself. This principle serves as a metaphor for the project, where disparate sounds, devoid of traditional harmony and rhythm, coalesce into a singular, cohesive experience. It’s as if the artists, through their manipulation of cassettes, seek to explore the vast potential of sound multiplication and reduction, ultimately arriving at a unified auditory expression.

Harold Schellinx, Emmanuel Rébus, Blenno Die Wurstbrücke, and Anton Mobin, the masterminds behind X°=1, employ a variety of techniques to achieve this effect. Their use of dictaphones, altered playback speeds, and creative mixing practices transform mundane noises into compelling sonic narratives. The inclusion of historical speeches, piano interludes, and ambient soundscapes further enriches the album, providing moments of clarity amidst the cacophony.

The dedication to Lou Ottens, the inventor of the audio compact cassette, underscores the project’s reverence for the medium. It’s a poignant reminder of the cassette’s impact on music consumption and creation, serving as both a tool for innovation and a vessel for nostalgia.

Blenno Die Wurstbrücke’s cover artwork, a collage that mirrors the album’s audio content, visually encapsulates the project’s essence. It’s a fitting representation of the chaotic yet harmonious nature of “The Art of K7” vol.​​​#2. The design and layout by John Kontandreopoulos further enhance the album’s appeal, marrying visual art with sound in a way that is both coherent and complementary.

Recorded at La G, Paris, and released on Coherent States, “The Art of K7” vol.​​​#2 is a testament to the enduring allure of the cassette and its capacity to inspire creativity. It’s a challenging listen, no doubt, but one that rewards those willing to immerse themselves in its complex, layered soundscapes.

For aficionados of experimental music and cassette culture, “The Art of K7” vol.​​​#2 offers a unique auditory experience that transcends the boundaries of genre and medium. It’s a celebration of sound’s raw, unfiltered beauty and a tribute to the creative spirit that continues to thrive in the age of digital reproduction.

This album is a must-listen for anyone curious about the possibilities of sound as an art form.

Media: Digital.

PRICE: €8

Visit Coherent States

Bandcamp URL: https://coherentstates.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-k7-vol-2


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dabodab is published by Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker) of GAJOOB, Tapegerm Collective, Discover Zines and other sites which are now joined together here on dabodab. read more.

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