Listen to forthcoming cassettes from Alexandra Spence and Alan Licht


With the sad passing of Lou Ottens who is credited as the inventor of the cassette, Room40 have decided it’s time they delved into the format. Well not really, they had already planned a cassette series as part of their 20th birthday celebrations last year, but you know…COVID…

Regardless they’ve just announced the first two of a new series of works that they’ll be releasing specifically for cassette, designed to explore the the format as a medium.

Sydney’s Alexandra Spence offers up A Necessary Softness, a beguiling wash of sonic repetition, where human voice, field recordings and processing combine in bizarre and unexpectedly delightful ways. Is it a travelogue? An audio diary? It’s hard to tell, but this is what she has to say about it:

“I like to imagine sound as a transient thread – unravelling and connecting our isolated homes, our objects, our bodies – degrading, changing form and leaving traces along the way. A necessary softness presents the shifting soundscapes of real and imagined places; tactile objects amplified to merge with sounds made by resonant bodies and digital processing, slowly unravelling into ambient landscape.”

NYC writer and musician Alan Licht offers up A Symphony Strikes the Moment You Arrive, two pieces, one a live performance of short- wave radio frequencies and the other a guitar based improvisation for video artist Birgit Rathsmann’s video based on satellite footage of hurricanes. It also includes a 5000 word in-conversation he did with Lawrence English last year which touches on his passion for improvisation and also minimalism.

Each cassette is housed in a soft polycarbonate case and includes a matte laminate outer sleeve and the triple panel monochrome insert.

You can find Alexandra Spence’s A Necessary Softness here. And Alan Licht’s A Symphony Strikes the Moment You Arrive here. Both are released on the 16th of April 2021.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.