Ben Roberts – Unit Audio

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The tape was dubbed at home with a Marantz CP430 directly from a 4track master cassette played by a Yamaha MT 100 II. Dubbing was done in real time.  The cassette is a C40, chrome quality. It is available from Ben, the staalplaat shop, and from me. It costs €7.00 ex-shipping

Ben Roberts is a British expat living in Madrid. He has been fascinated by everything regarding magnetic tape since his youngest years. This resulted in building a huge archive of found tapes. As an artist Ben uses the tapes in installations and live shows.

As the title suggests, much of this work was conceived as ‘units’: segments of sound combined starkly in collage form; awkward or absurd combinations or, in contrast,  subtly blended matches that seem quite natural. Nine pieces that, in turn, are units in themselves, having largely been created independently of one another during sporadic working periods over the two year period.

Sounds of different origins and ages are blended with (or hurled against) each other.

i. Found tapes recorded by strangers, and functioning or signifying in some bygone cultural context; surviving audio remnants of a time that doesn’t exist anymore.
ii. TV/Radio/music extracts: To introduce occasional fragments of externally-referenced meaning into the pieces.
iii. Mechanical or tape-sounds: Due to material ageing, breakdown or modification, the original functional identity of the sound is nearly or completely obscured.
The combinations produce meanings above and beyond anything the individual parts may have had. Narratives that put us in direct contact with historic events as they unfold in every day life.

The precise use and choice of fragments, the delicacy and awareness in attitude towards the use of found material and most important of all, the artistic approach add a touch of ‘sehnsucht’, an almost mystic glow to the sound.

Unit Audio ignites your imagination. It makes you wander over paths that almost got covered by the forgetfulness of our times.

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