Review of Ben Roberts’ Unit Audio

Ryan Masteller reviewed Ben Roberts’ Unit Audio in Cassette Gods

“Plunderphonics never sounded so cared for, so labored over, as it does on British expat Ben Roberts’s UNIT AUDIO. The now-Madrid-dwelling Roberts has amassed a collection of cassette tapes that he discovered over the years, and the archive serves as the inspiration and the source material for his cassette on Staaltape, the Berlin label run by Rinus van Alebeek and focusing on sound art. Let’s just say that UNIT AUDIO is freaking cornucopia of found sound, pieced together for maximum weirdness and instant likability. It starts strong and stays strong, continuing on its path toward greatness minute by warped-audio minute. Ever thought you’d hear somebody talk about musique concrète that way?”

“Hyperbole aside, what Roberts crafts is surprisingly musical, and although tones tend toward the ambient spectrum, there are some rhythmic elements that appear at points. The pieces are stitched together so that the sounds both flow with each other and collide against themselves, sometimes at the same point, depending on the mood Roberts is trying to create. The result is never less than thrilling, as each new passage reveals surprising new directions and interesting new sources, all of which are fairly mysterious, especially if you’re able to turn off your mind as it tries to process each new sample. (Although, Spice Girls? I knew THAT one at least.) (I don’t know what that says about me.) ”

“What does UNIT AUDIO say about Ben Roberts? It affords a peek into his imagination, surely, where the source material swirls until it coalesces into a sensible whole. Roberts invokes the idea of sehnsucht, meaning there’s a “yearning” or a “longing,” a sense that something is missing or imperfect and that something’s presence will restore the whole. UNIT AUDIO is restless, a time capsule, multiple snapshots of human life superimposed on one another in a confusing mass, the disorder, perhaps oxymoronically, satisfying in its turmoil. The whole is here. What’s missing is within us.”

At the moment Unit Audio is only available as a custom made special edition, made on demand.

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Sent out for Review, The Last Day on Earth and Unit Audio

Sent out today to reviewers these two packages. The (Polish) post office across the road still uses stamps, which makes for a beautiful finishing touch. Today’s choice was two big stamps showing a (Polish?) pope blessing the masses and a smaller stamp with a picture of orange flowers.

Any advice on who/where to send copies for review is most welcome.

Also, If you order your tape directly from me, you can expect this kind of packaging.

Of course the tapes are also available directly from Kris Limbach, Ben Roberts aka Eclectiktronik Live and from Guillaume Siffert at the Staalplaat shop in Berlin. Midøri Hiranø‘s personal copies have sold out.

address side of packet for The Sound Projector

Address side of Packet for Cassette Gods

Back side of packet for the Sound Projector

Back side of packet for Cassette Gods

Out Now! Ben Roberts – Unit Audio

Ben Roberts’ – Unit Audio is a C40 tape, recorded at original speed with a Marantz CP430 from a 4track master tape. The quality is chrome. Price is 7.00€.

Here’s the text that Ben and I wrote together.

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. 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.

In addition I say:
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.

you don’t get this exceptionally high degree of uncut humanity and honesty captured on tape every day

Audiozine #3 – Valerie Kuehne is reviewed by Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector. He hears “evidence of a wild, peculiar talent.” Read the complete review here.

The second edition is now available at Staalplaat in Berlin (postal orders too), directly from the artist, or from yours sincerely (contact form at bottom of this post).

valeriezine-group-picture

Earlier reviewers-

“I never had heard any other music of Valerie Kuehne, but she has a new follower!” says Johan Nederpel in Yeah, I know it sucks.

“She performs with great style,” says Frans De Waard in Vital Weekly #1032

“Sehr hoher Unterhaltungswert,” says DJ TDK aka Thomas Neumann in Hörerlebnis, Ausgabe 97 (physical copy)

 

Audiozine #3 – Valerie Kuehne

“Valerie I’d like to release a tape of your works on staaltape” – “Great.” somehow didn’t work out. So one day while going through her songs for a far away future conceptual release for staaltape, I got the idea to surprise her with a selection I made. She gave me carte blanche to go on as I thought was right.

The result is that this is not a tape by Valerie, but a tape by me, for which I used her songs and other appearances. I compiled and structured it and in doing so I created a portrait of Valerie Kuehne. Hence, an audiozine, says the editor.

I won’t make a teaser for this album. I even hesitate to publish the song titles. It would spoil too much of your pleasure. You can pre-order directly from Valerie, or from me. There are 13 copies available.

You can find the complete info on this page.

Audiozine #3 - Valerie Kuehne

Audiozine #3 – Valerie Kuehne

Midori Hirano – And I Am Here, 5th edition

Twelve new copies of Midori Hirano’s And I Am Here, a release I continue to like for the otherworldly tunes, its simplicity and its kindness. In the artwork you’ll find some quotes from previous editions. I tried to manufacture a cheaper edition, cheaper because of the used material.

They will be available at the staalplaat shop very soon, and at one of Midori’s performances. Or get in touch with her in person.

More info on a special page.

Midori Hirano - And I Am Here, 5th edition

Midori Hirano – And I Am Here, 5th edition